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Cornell University Library 

The renewal of youth, and other poems. 

3 1924 013 529 171 

Cornell University 

The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
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Eonbon : 



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Cambtilige : 




*^* This volume contains (i) TAe Renewal of Youth 
and other poems as yet unpublished : (2) various pieces 
already printed in the Fortnightly Review and MacmillarCs 
Magazine, and (3) some pieces published in a small 
volume of Poems which appeared in 1870, and which 
has long been out of print. Less than half of that 
volume, however, is incorporated into the present one. 
S. Paul is now published in a separate form, and many 
shorter pieces have been omitted here. 

July, 1.XS2, 




The Translation of Faith . . i 

S. John the Baptist . lo 

Ammergau ... .29 

The Implicit Promise of Immortality . 46 

On Art as an Aim in Life . . 58 

Two Sisters . . 72 

SiMMENTHAL . . . . 76 

On an Invalid . 79 

Would God it were Evening 82 

Would God it were Morning 83 

High Tide at Midnight . . 84 

On a Grave at Grindelwald . . 85 

After an Interview 86 

Love and Faith 88 



A Prayer ... . . -91 

A Last Appeal . . . . 92 

Teneriffe 93 

A Letter from Newport 98 

Epithalamium . . ... 102 

Stanzas on Shelley . . . . 105 

In Henry VII.'s Chapel, Westminster Abbey 109 

Stanzas on Mr Watts' collected Works. . 112 


The Passing of Youth . . 121 

Sweet Seventeen . . ... 140 

Ah, no more Questions, no more Fears . 142 

Who to the Grave Child-Eyes could teach . 143 

Arethusa .... . . 145 

Auf Flugeln des Gesanges ... 147 

Unsatisfactory. . . . 149 

Satisfactory . . 151 

Oh never kiss me; stand apart . 155 

Hesione 156 

Nora 160 

Tiiouor Words of Ice be spoken 163 



Phyllis .... . . . 164 

When Summer even Softly Dies .... 166 

A Cry from the Stalls 169 

The Ballerina's Progress, or the Poetry of Motion 172 

I SAW, I SAW the lovely Child . . . . 176 

Cydippe . . 178 

Lover's Sono 180 

Ante Diem *. . ... . 182 

Why should I strive to express it? . . 185 

Preexistence ... 186 

A Song . . . . 187 

Honour . . . .189 

Elodia .... 192 

Gabrielle 194 

Echos du Temps passe 196 

The Renewal of Youth 199 



HlGH in the midst the pictured Pentecost 
Showed in a sign the coming of the Ghost, 
And round about were councils blazoned 
Called by the Fathers in a day long dead, 
Who once therein, as well the limner paints, 
Upbuilt the faith delivered to the saints. 

Without the council-hall, in dawning day, 
The mass of men had left a narrow way 

* Public Session of the CEcumenical Council, in St. Peter's, 
Rome, January 6, Feast of the Epiphany, 1870. 

M. I 


Where ever-burning lamps enlock the tomb 
In golden glamour and in golden gloom. 
There on the earth is peace, and in the air 
An aspiration of eternal prayer ; 
So many a man in immemorial years 
Has scarcely seen that image for his tears, 
So oft have women found themselves alone 
With Christ and Mary on the well-worn stone. 

Thereby the conclave of the bishops went, 
With grave brows cherishing a dim intent, 
As men who travelled on their eve of death 
From every shore that man inhabiteth, 
Not knowing wherefore, for the former things 
Fade from old eyes of bishops and of kings. 

With crimson raiment one from Bozrah came, 
On brow and breast the rubies flashed in flame ; 
And this from Tyre, from Tunis that, and he 
From Austral islands and the Austral sea ; — 
And many a swarthy face and stern was there, 


And many a man who knows deep things and rare, 
Knows the Chaldaic and the Coptic rite, 
The Melchian-Greek and Ebio-Maronite, 
Strange words of men who speak from long ago, 
Lived not our hves, but what we know not know. 

And some there were who never shall disdain 
The Orders of their poverty and pain ; 
Amidst all pomp preferring for their need 
The simple cowl and customary weed, — 
Some white and Carmelite, and some alway 
In gentle habit of Franciscan grey. 

And lo, the sovereign Pontiff, Holy Sire, 
Fulfilled anew the Catholic desire ; — 
Beneath the scroll of Peter's charge unfurled 
He sat him at the centre of the world, 
Attending till the deeds of God began, 
And the One Sacrifice was slain for man. 

But yet to me was granted to behold 

I — 2 


A greater glory than the Pontiff's gold ; — 

To my purged eyes before the altar lay 

A figure dreamlike in the noon of day ; 

Nor changed the still face, nor the look thereon, 

At ending of the endless antiphon. 

Nor for the summoned saints and holy hymn 

Grew to my sight less delicate and dim ; — 

How faint, how fair that immaterial wraith ! 

But, looking long, I saw that she was Faith. 


Last in the midst of all a patriarch came. 
Whose nation none durst ask him, nor his name, 
Yet 'mid the Eastern sires he seemed as one 
Fire-nurtured at the springing of the sun, 
And in robe's tint was likest-hued to them 
Who wear the Babylonian diadem. 
His brows black yet and white unfallen hair 
Set in strange frame the face of his despair, 
And I despised not, nor can God despise, 


The silent splendid anger of his eyes. 

A hundred years of search for flying Truth 

Had left them glowing with no gleam of youth, 

A hundred years of vast and vain desire 

Had lit and filled them with consuming fire ; 

Therethrough I saw his fierce eternal soul 

Gaze from beneath that argent aureole ; 

I saw him bow his hoar majestic head, 

I heard him, and he murmured, " Faith is dead." 

Through arch and avenue the rumour ran, 
Shed from the mighty presence of the man ; 
Through arch and avenue and vault and aisle 
He cast the terror of his glance awhile, 
Then rose at once and spake with hurrying breath. 
As one who races with a racing Death. 

" How long ago our fathers followed far 
That false flame of the visionary star! 
Oh better, better had it been for them 
To have perished on the edge of Bethlehem, 


Or ere they saw the comet stoop and stay, 
And knew the shepherds, and became as they ! 
Better for us to have been, as men may be. 
Sages and silent by the Eastern sea, 
Than thus in new delusion to have brought 
Myrrh of our prayer, frankincense of our thought, 
For One whom knowing not we held so dear, 
For One who sware it, but who is not here. 
Better for you, this shrine when ye began. 
An earthquake should have hidden it from 

Than thus through centuries of pomp and pain 
To have founded and have finished it in vain, — 
To have vainly arched the labyrinthine shade. 
And vainly vaulted it, and vainly made 
For saints and kings an everlasting home 
High in the dizzying glories of the dome. 
Since not one minute over hall or Host 
Flutters the peerless presence of the Ghost, 
Nor falls at all, for art or man's device, 
On mumbled charm and mumming sacrifice, — 


But either cares not, or forspent with care 
Has flown into the infinite of air. 

Apollo left you when the Christ was born, 
Jehovah when the temple's veil was torn, 
And now, even now, this last time and again, 
The presence of a God has gone from men. 
Live in your dreams, if ye must live, but I 
Will find the light, and in the light will die." 


At that strange speech the sons of men amazed 
Each on the other tremulously gazed, 
When lo, herself, — herself the age to close, — 
From where she lay the very Faith arose ; 
She stood as never she shall stand again. 
And for an instant manifest to men : — 
In figure like the Mother-maid who sees . 
The deepest heart of hidden mysteries, 
On that strange night when from her eyes she shed 


A holy glory on the painter's bed, 
And Agnes and the angels hushed awhile, 
Won by her sadness sweeter than a smile. 
Such form she wore, nor yet henceforth will care 
That form, or form at all, on earth to wear; 
For those sweet eyes, which once, with flag unfurled, 
So many a prince would follow through the world, — 
That face, the light of dreams, the crown of day, 
Lo, while we looked on her, was rapt away ; 
O mystic end and o evanished queen ! 
When shall we see thee as our sires have seen .' 

And yet, translated from the Pontiff's side, 
She did not die, o say not that she died ! 
She died not, died not, o the faint and fair ! 
She could not die, but melted into air. 

In that high dome I neither know nor say 
What Power and Presence was alive that day, 
No, nor what Faith, in what traqsfigured form, 
Rode on the ghostly spaces of the storm : 


For sight of eyes nor ear with hearing knew 
That windless wind that where it listed blew ; 
Yet seeing eyes and ears that hear shall be 
As dust and nothingness henceforth for me, 
Who once have felt the blowing Spirit roll 
Life on my life, and on my soul a Soul. 

And first the conclave and the choir, and then 
The immeasurable multitude of men, 
Bowed and fell down, bowed and fell down, as 

A rushing mighty wind had laid them low; 
Yea to all hearts a revelation came, 
As flying thunder and as flying flame ; 
A moment then the vault above him seemed 
To each man as the heaven that he had dreamed ; 
A moment then the floor whereon he trod 
Became the pavement of the courts of God ; 
And in the aisles was silence, in the dome 
Silence, and no man knew that it was Rome. 

Rome, Jan. 7, 1870. 


O Jesus, if one minute, if one hour 

Thou wouldst come hitherward and speak with 

Nay, but be present only, nay, but come: 
And I shall look, and as I look on thee 
Find in thine eyes the answer and the end. 

And I am he who once in Nazareth, 
A child, nor knowing yet the prophet's woe. 
In childly fashion sought thee, and even then 
Perceived a mute withdrawal, open eyes 
That drooped not for caressing, brows that knew 
Dominion, and the babe already king. 


Ah Mary, but thou also, thou as I, 
With eager tremulous humilities. 
With dumb appeal and tears that dared not flow, 
Hast laid thy loving arms about the boy, 
And clasped him wistfully and felt him far. 

And ever as I grew his loveliness 
Grew with me, and the yearning turned to pain. 
Then said I, — "Nay, my friends, no need is now 
For John to tarry with you; I have seen, 
I have known him; I go hence, and all alone 
I carry Jesus with me till I die." 

And that same day, being past the Passover, 
I gat me to the desert, and stayed to see 
Joseph and Mary holding each a hand 
Of one that followed meekly ; and I was gone. 
And with strange beasts in the great wilderness 
I laid me, fearing nothing, and hardly knew 
On what rough meat in what unwonted ways 
I throve, or how endured the frost and fire; 


But moaned and carried in my heart for him 
A first and holy passion, boy for boy, 
And loved the hills that look on Nazareth 
And every fount that pours upon the plain. 

Then once with trembling knees and heart afire 
I ran, I sought him: but my Lord at home 
Bright in the full face of the dawning day 
Stood at his carpentry, and azure air 
Inarched him, scattered with the glittering green; 
I saw him standing, I saw his face, I saw 
His even eyebrows over eyes grey-blue, 
From whence with smiling there looked out on me 
A welcome and a wonder, — "Mine so soon.'" — 
Ah me, how sweet and unendurable 
Was that confronting beauty of the boy! 
Jesus, thou knowest I had no answer then, 
But leapt without a word, and flung away. 
And dared not think thereof, and looked no more. 

And after that with wonder rose in me 


Strange speech of early prophets, and a tale 

First learnt and last forgotten, song that fell 

With worship from the lonely Israelites, 

Simeon and Anna ; for these twain as one 

Fast by the altar and in the courts of God 

Led a long age in fair expectancy. 

For all about them swept the heedless folk, 

Unholy folk and market merchandise, 

They each from each took courage, and with prayer 

Made ready for the coming of a King. 

So, when the waves of Noe on forest and hill 

Ran ruinous, and all herbs had lost the life 

Of greenness and the memory of air. 

The cedar-trees alone on Lebanon 

Spread steadfastly invulnerable arms. 

That was no sleep when clear the vision came. 
Bright in the night and truer than the day : — 
For there with brows newborn and locks that flew 
Was Adam, and his eyes remembered God ; 
And Eve, already fallen, already in woe, 


Knowing a sweeter promise for the pain ; 
And after these, unknown, unknowable. 
The grave gigantic visage of dead men, 
With looks that are noj;. ours, with speech to say 
That no man dares interpret ; then I saw 
A maiden such as countrymen afield 
Greet reverently, and love her as they see; 
And after that a boy with face so fair, 
With such a glory and a wonder in it, 
I grieved to find him born upon the earth 
To man's life and the heritage of sin ; 
And last of all that Mary whom I knew 
Stood with such parted lips and face aglow 
As long-since when the angel came to her; 
And all these pointed forward, and I knew 
That each was prophet and singer and sire and 

That each was priest and mother and maid and 

With longing for the babe of Nazareth, 
For that man-child who should be born and reign. 


And once again I saw him, in latter days 
Fraught with a deeper meaning, for he came 
To my baptizing, and the infinite air 
Blushed on his coming, and all the earth was still ; 
Gently he spake ; I answered ; God from heaven 
Called, and I hardly heard him, such a love 
Streamed in that orison from man to man. 
Then shining from his shoulders either-way 
Fell the flood Jordan, and his kingly eyes 
Looked in the east, and star-like met the sun. 
Once in no manner of similitude, 
And twice in thunderings and thrice in flame, 
The Highest ere now hath shown him secretly; 
But when from heaven the visible Spirit in air 
Came verily, lighted on him, was alone, 
Then knew I, then I said it, then I saw 
God in the voice and glory of a man. 

And one will say, "And wilt thou not forget 
The unkindly king that hath forgotten thee.'" 
Nay, I remember; like my sires who sat 


Faithful and stubborn by Euphrates' stream, 

Nor in their age forgot Jerusalem, 

Nor reared their children for another joy. 

O Jesus, if thou knewest, if thou couldst know. 
How in my heart through sleep and pain and prayer 
Thy royalty remaineth ; how thy name 
Falls from my lips unbidden, and the dark 
Is thick with lying shades that are not thou, — 
Couldst thou imagine it, O tender soul ! 
At least in vision thou wouldst come to me ; 
I should not only hear of dumb that sing 
And lame that leap around thee, and all thy ways 
Joyful, and on thy breast another John. 

How should I not remember? Is dusk of day 
Forgetful, or the winter of the sun .'' 
Have these another glory ? or whom have I 
In all the world but Jesus for my love .-' 
Whereinsoever breath may rise and die 
Their generations follow on, and earth 


Each in their kind replenisheth anew, 

Only like him she bears not nor hath borne 

One in her endless multitude of men. 

And these were ever about me ; morn by morn 
Mine eyes again desired him, and I saw 
The thronging Hebrews thicken, and my heart 
Sank, and the prophet served another day. 

Yet sometimes when by chance the rulers came, 
Encharnelled in their fatness, men that smile. 
Sit in high seats, and swell with their desire, 
My strong limbs shook, and my heart leapt and 

With passion of sheer scorn, with speech that slew, 
With glances that among them running dealt 
Damnation, as on Egypt ran the flame. 
For such men never when I look on them 
Can keep their pride or smiling, but their brow 
Droops from its base dominion, and their voice 
Rings hoUower with a stirring fear within, 
M. 2 


Till flushes chill to paleness, and at length 
From self-convicted eyes evanisheth 
The false and fickle lumour of their joy. 

For quick and fitfully with feast and song 
Men make a tumult round them, and console 
With sudden sport a momentary woe ; 
But if thou take one hence, and set him down 
In some strange jeopardy on enormous hills, 
Or swimming at night alone upon the sea, 
His lesser life falls from him, and the dream 
Is broken which had held him unaware. 
And with a shudder he feels his naked soul 
In the great black v/orld face to face with God. 

This also for that miserable man 
Is a worse trouble than his heart can know, 
That in the strait and sodden ways of sin 
He has made him alien to the plenteous day, 
Cut off from friendliness with woods that wave 
And happy pasture and carousing sea. 


And whatsoever loving things enjoy 

Simply the kind simplicity of God. 

For these are teachers ; not in vain His seers 

Have dwelt in solitudes and known that God 

High up in open silence and thin air 

More presently reveals him, having set 

His chiefest temples on the mountain-tops, 

His kindling altar in the hearts of men. 

And these I knew with peace and lost with pain, 

And oft for whistling wind and desert air 

Lamented, and in dreams was my desire 

For the flood Jordan, for the running sound 

And broken glitters of the midnight moon. 

But now all this fades from me, and the life 

Of prophecy, and summers that I knew. 

Yea, and though once I looked on many men 

And spake them sweet and bitter speech, and heard 

Such secrets as a tempest of the soul 

Once in a lifetime washes black and bare 

From desperate recesses of shut sin, 

Yet all is quite forgotten, and to-day 


From the strange past no sign remains with me 
But simple and tremendous memories 
Of morning and of even and of God. 

Ah me, ah me, for if a man desire 
Gold or great wealth or marriage with a maid. 
How easily he wins her, having served 
Seven years perchance, and counting that for gain ; 
But whoso wants God only and lets life go, 
Seeks him with sorrow, and pursues him far. 
And finds him weeping, and in no long time 
Again the High and Unapproachable 
Evanishing escapeth, and that man 
Forgets the life and struggle of the soul, 
Falls from his hope, and dreams it was a dream. 

Yet back again perforce with sorrow and shame 
Who once hath known him must return, nor long 
Can cease from loving, nor endures alone 
The dreadful interspace of dreams and day, 
Once quick with God ; nor is content as those 


Who look into each other's eyes and seek 
To find one strong enough to uphold the earth, 
Or sweet enough to make it heaven : aha, 
■ Whom seek they or whom find ? for in all the 

There is none but thee, my God, there is none but 


And this it is that links together as one 
The sad continual companies of men ; 
Not that the old earth stands, and Ararat 
Endureth, and Euphrates till to-day 
Remembers where God walked beside the stream ; 
Nay rather that souls weary and hearts afire 
Have everywhere besought him, everywhere 
Have found and found him not; and age to age, 
Though all else pass and fail, delivereth 
At least the great tradition of their God. 

For even thus on Ur and Mahanaim 
By Asian rivers gathering to the sea. 


When the huge stars shone gold, and dim and still 
Dewed in the dusk the innocent yearlings lay, 
With constant eyes the serious shepherd-men 
Renewed the old desiring, sought again 
The mute eternal Presence ; and for these 
Albeit sometimes the sundering firmament 
One moment to no bodily sense revealed 
Unspeakably an imminence of love ; — 
Yet by no song have our forefathers known 
To set the invisible in sight of men, 
Nor in all years have any wisdom found 
But patient hope and dumb humility. 

Yea, Lord, I know it, teach mc yet anew 
With what a fierce and patient purity 
I must confront the horror of the world. 
For very little space on either hand 
Parts the sane mind from madness ; very soon 
By the intenser pressure of one thought 
Or clearer vision of one agony 
The soothfast reason trembles, all things fade 


In blackness, and the demon enters in. — 

I would I never may be left of thee, 

O God, my God, in whatsoever ill ; 

Be present while thou strikest, thus shall grow 

At least a solemn patience with the pain ; — 

When thou art gone, what is there in the world 

Seems not dishonoured, desperate with sin .' 

The stars are threatful eyeballs, and, the air 

Hangs thick and heavy with the wrath of God, 

And even pure pity in my heart congeals 

To idle anger with thy ways and thee. 

Nor any care for life remains to me, 

Nor trust in love, nor fellowship with men, 

But past my will the exasperated brain 

Thinks bitter thoughts, and I no more am John. 

It is not when man's heart is nighest heaven 
He hath most need of servant-seraphim, — 
Albeit that height be holy and God be still. 
And lifted up he dies with his desire, 
That only once the Highest for dear love's sake 


Would set himself in whispers of a man : — 
Nay, but much rather when one flat on earth 
Knows not which way to grovel, or where to flee 
From the overmastering agony of sin. 
Then his deed tears him till he find one pure 
To know it and forgive: "For God," saith he, 
" Still on the unjust sends unchangeable 
These scornful boons of summer and of rain, 
And howsoever I fall, with dawn and day 
Floods me, and splendidly ignores my sin." 

And how should pity and anger cease, or shame 
Have done with blushes, till the prophet know 
That God not yet hath quite despaired of men ? 
Oh that the heavens were rent and one came down 
Who saw men's hurt with kindlier eyes than mine, 
Fiercelier than I resented every wrong, 
Sweated more painful drops than these that flow 
In nightly passion for my people's sin, — 
Died with it, lived beyond it, — nay, what now ? 
If this indeed were Jesus, this the Lamb 


Whom age by age the temple-sacrifice 
Not vainly had prefigured, and if so 
In one complete and sacred agony 
He lifted all the weight of all the world, — 
And if men knew it, and if men clung to him 
With desperate love and present memory, — 
I know not how, — till all things fail in fire ; 
That were enough, and, o my God, for them, 
For them there might be peace, but not for me. 

And even Elias often on the hills 
Towered in a flaming sunset, sick at heart; 
Often with bare breast on the dewy earth 
Lay all night long, and all night comfortless 
Poured his abounding bitterness of soul : 
I know that not without a wail he bore 
The solitude of prophets till that day 
When death divine and unbelievable 
Blazed in the radiant chariot and blown fire, 
Whereof the very memory melts mine eyes 
And holds my heart with wonder : can it be 


That thus obscurely to his ministers 
Jehovah portioneth eternal love ? 

Here in the hazardous joy of woman and man 
Consider with how sad and eager eyes 
They lean together, and part, and gaze again, 
Regretting that they cannot in so brief time, 
With all that sweet abandonment, outpour 
Their flowing infinity of tenderness. 
God's fashion is another ; day by day 
And year by year he tarrieth ; little need 
The Lord should hasten ; whom he loves the most 
He seeks not oftenest, nor wooes him long, 
But by denial quickens his desire, 
And in forgetting best remembers him, 
Till that man's heart grows humble and reaches out 
To the least glimmer of the" feet of God, 
Grass on the mountain-tops, or the early note 
Of wild birds in the hush before the day, — 
Wherever sweetly in the ends of the earth 
Are fragments of a peace that knows not man. 


Then on our utter weakness and the hush 
Of hearts exhausted that can ache no more, 
On such abeyance of self and swoon of soul 
The Spirit hath lighted oft, and let men see 
That all our vileness alters God no more 
Than our dimmed eyes can quench the stars in 

heaven : — 
From years ere years were told, through all the sins, 
Unknown sins of innumerable men, 
God is himself for ever, and shows to-day 
As erst in Eden, the eternal hope. 

Wherefore if anywise from morn to morn 
I can endure a weary faithfulness. 
From minute unto minute calling low 
On God who once would answer, it may be 
He hath a waking for me, and some surprise 
Shall from this prison set the captive free 
And love from fears and from the flesh the soul. 

For even thus beside Gennesaret 


In solemn night some demon-haunted man 

Runs from himself, and nothing knows in heaven 

But blackness, yet around him unaware 

With standing hills and high expectancy, 

With early airs and shuddering and calm, 

The enormous morning quickens, and lake and tree 

Perceive each other dimly in a dream ; 

And when at last with bodily frame forspent 

He throws him on the beach to sleep or die, 

That very moment rises full and fair 

Thy sun, o Lord, the sun that brings the day. 

I wait it ; I have spoken ; even now 
This hour may set me in one place with God. 
I hear a wantoning in Herod's hall, 
And feet that seek me ; very oft some chance 
Leaps from the folly and the wine of kings ; — 
O Jesus, spirit and spirit, soul and soul, — 
O Jesus, I shall seek thee, I shall find. 
My love, my master, find thee, though I be 
Least, as I know, of all men woman-born. 


" Where is he gone ? O men and maidens, where 
Is gone the fairest amid all the fair? 
Mine eyes desire him, and with dawning day 
My heart goes forth to find him on the way." 

Ah, how that music lingers, and again 
Returns the dying sweetness of the strain ! 
How clearly on my inner sense is borne 
The fair fresh beauty of the mountain morn. 
And cries of flocks afar, and mixed with these 
The green delightful tumult of the trees, — 

* Celebration of the Passion- Play at Ober-Ammergau, in Bavaria, 
June 25, 1870. 


The birds that o'er us from the upper day 
Threw flitting shade, and went their airy way, — 
The bright-robed chorus and the silent throng, 
And that first burst and sanctity of song ! 

In such a place with eager faces fair 
Sat men of old in bright Athenian air, 
Heard in such wise the folk of Theseus sing 
Their welcome to the world-forsaken king, — 
Awaited thus between the murmuring trees 
The whisper of appeased Eumenides, 
Till breath came thick and eyes no more could 

For sweet prevision of the end to be. 

But ah, how hard a task to set again 
The living Christ among the homes of men ! 
Have we not grown too faithless or too wise 
For this old tale of many mysteries ? 
Will not this passion of the peasants seem 
Like children's tears for terror of a dream ? — 


- " Hosanna ! whoso in the Highest Name, 
Hosanna! cometh as Elias came, 
Him Israel hails and honours, Israel showers 
Before him all her hopes and all her flowers."— 

O Son of God! O blessed vision, stay! 
O be my whole life centred in to-day! 
Ah, let me dream that this indeed is He, 
Mine eyes desired Him, and at last they see ! 

Then as some loving wife, whose lord has come 
Wounded but safe from a far battle home, 
Yet must before the day's declining go 
On a like quest against another foe, — 
With throbbing breast his kingly voice she hears 
Her eager gaze is dazzled with her tears. 
Nor clearly can she place his tales apart 
For the overwhelming passion of her heart, 
For joy and love, for pity and for pain, 
For thinking "He is come, he goes again!" — 
In such confusion of the soul I saw 
Their mighty pictures of the vanished Law, 


Which, as they held, that Law to Gospel bound 

With mystic meaning and design profound: — 

Joseph by Dothan and the shepherd's well, 

Tobias in the hand of Raphael, — 

The crowding people who with joy descry 

The food of angels fluttering from the -sky; — 

Ah, sweet that still upon this earth should be 

So many simple souls in holy glee, 

Such maids and men, unknowing shame or guile, 

Whose whole bright nature beams into a smile! 

Thro' all these scenes the fateful story ran. 
And the grave presence of the Son of Man: 
There was the evening feast, remembered long, 
The mystic act and sacramental song; 
There was the dreadful garden, rock and tree, 
Waker and sleepers in Gethsemane; — 
The selfsame forms that I so oft had seen 
Shrined the portcullis and the rose between. 
When heaven's cold light in cheerless afternoon 
Changed while we knelt from sun to ghostly moon. 


And one there was who on his deeds could draw 
A gaze that half was horror, half was awe, 
Who when the supper of the Lord was spread 
Drank of the cup and ate the broken bread. 
And then, with night without him and within, 
Went forth and sinned the unutterable sin. 

Better if never on his ways had shone 
The Light which is men's life to look upon ; 
If he had worn a torpid age away 
In the poor gains and pleasures of the day, 
From toil to toil had been content to go, 
Nor ever aim so high or fall so low! 

But, when he saw the Christ, he thought to fly 
His own base self and selfish misery; 
He trusted that before those heavenly eyes 
All shameful thoughts were as a dream that 

And new life opened on him, great and free. 
And love on earth and paradise to be. 

But ah! thro' all men some base impulse runs, 
(The brute the father and the men the sons,) 
M. 3 


Which if one harshly sets him to subdue, 
With fiercer insolence it boils anew: 
He ends the worst who with best hope began: 
How hard is this! how like the lot of man! 

When this man's best desire and highest aim 
Had ended in the deed of traitorous shame, 
When to his bloodshot eyes grew wild and dim 
The stony faces of the Sanhedrim, — 
When in his rage he could no longer bear 
Men's voices nor the sunlight nor the air, 
Nor sleep, nor waking, nor his own quick breath, 
Nor God in heaven, nor anything but death, — 
I bowed my head, and through my fingers ran 
Tears for the end of that Iscariot man. 
Lost in the hopeless struggle of the soul 
To make the done undone, the broken whole. 

O brother! howsoever, wheresoe'er 
Thou hidest now the hell of thy despair, 
Hear that one heart can pity, one can know 
With thee thy hopeless solitary woe. 


But when the treacherous deed was planned and 
The soldiers gathered, and the shame begun, 
Thereat the indignant heavens in fierce disdain 
Blew down a rushing and uproarious rain; 
The tall trees wailed; ill-heard and scarcely seen 
Were Jew and Roman those rough gusts between, 
Only unmoved one still and towering form 
Made, as of old, a silence in the storm. 

Then was the cross uplifted ; strange to see 
That final sign of sad humanity ; 
For men in childhood for their worship chose 
The primal force by which as men they rose ; 
Then round their homes they bade with boyish grace 
The hanging Bacchus swing his comely face ; 
And now, grown old, they can no more disdain 
To look full-front upon the eyes of Pain, 
But must all corners of the champaign fill 
With bleeding images of this last ill. 
Must on yon mountain's pinnacle enshrine 
A crucifix, the dead for the divine. 



Yet never picture, wonderfully well 
By hands of Diirer drawn or Raphael, 
Nor wood by shepherds that one art who know 
Carved in long nights behind the drifted snow, 
Could with such holy sorrows flood and fill 
The eyes made glimmering and the heart made still, 
As that pale form whose outstretched limbs so long 
Made kingship of the infamy of wrong. 
O'er whose thorn-twined majestic brows ran down 
Blood for anointing from the bitter crown. 

Then from the lips of David's Son there brake 
Such phrase as David in the Spirit spake, — 
Ay, and four words with such a meaning fraught 
As seemed an answer to my inmost thought ; — 
O dreadful cry, and by no seer foreshewn, 
"My God, my God, I die and am alone!" 

Where is he gone? O men and maidens, where 
Is gone the fairest amid all the fair ? 
Mine eyes desire him, and with dawning day 
My heart goes forth to find him on the way. 



I, having seen, for certain days apart 
Fared with a silent memory at my heart, 
And in me great compassion grew for them 
Who looked upon that feigned Jerusalem, 
For I and all those thousands seemed to be 
Like other thousands once in Galilee, 
Save that no miracle's divine surprise 
Met in the desert our expectant eyes, 
No answer calmed our eager hearts enticed 
By the mere name and very look of Christ. 

So fondly in all ages man will cling 
To the least shadow of a Friend and King, 
To the faint hope of one to share, to know 
The aspiration and the inner woe, — 
Forgetting that the several souls of men 
Are not like parted drops which meet again 
When the tree shakes and to each other run 
The kindred crystals glittering into one, — 


But like those twin revolving stars which bear 

A double solitude thro' the utmost air ; 

For these, albeit their lit immingled rays 

Be living beryl, living chrysoprase, 

Tho' burning orb on orb shall whirl and throw 

Her amethystine and her golden glow, 

Yet must they still their separate pathways keep 

And sad procession thro' the eternal deep. 

Apart, together, must for ever roll 

Round a void centre to an unknown goal. 

And thus I mused, and as men's musings will 
Come round at last to their own sorrows still. 
So mine, who in such words as these began 
To mourn the solitary fate of man. 

"Thou, Virgil, too, wouldst gladly have been laid 
In forest-arches of Thessalian shade, 
Or on Laconian lawns have watched all day 
The fleet and fair Laconian maidens play, 
Till from the rustling of the leaves was shed 


Deep sleep upon thy limbs and kingly head, 
And Mother Earth diffused with calm control 
Peace on her sweetest and her saddest soul. 
There 'mid the peasants thou hadst dwelt with joy 
The goatherd or the reaper or the boy, 
Hadst changed thy fate for theirs, if change could be, 
And given for love thy sad supremacy. 

"Wert thou not wise, my Master? better far 
To live with them and be as these men are; 
Better 'mid PhyUis and Lycoris set, — 
Their soft eyes darker than the violet, — 
With them to smile and sing, for them to bear 
The lover's anguish and the fond despair, 
Than thus to feel, for ever and forlorn, 
The passions set new-risen and die new-born. 

" For some men linger in their loves, but I 
So soon have finished and so fast go by; 
Nay, nor in answering gaze of friends can find 
The one soul looking through the double mind: 


I love them, but beneath their tenderest tone 
This lonely heart is not the less alone; 
I love them, but betwixt their souls and me 
Are shadowy mountains and a sounding sea. 

"Oh heart that oftentimes wouldst gladly win 
The whole world's love thy narrow walls within, 
Wouldst answer speech with silence, sighs with sighs. 
Tears with the effluence of enchanted eyes, — 
Then oftentimes in bitterness art fain 
To cast that love to the four winds again. 
For indignation at the gulfs that bar 
For ever soul from soul as star from star ! 
Sweet are the looks and words, the sigh and kiss, 
But can the live soul live by these or this? — 
From her sad temple she beholds in vain 
The close caresses and the yearning strain; — 
Who reaches, who attains her ? who has known 
Her queenly presence and her tender tone ? 
What brush has painted, or what song has sung 
Her unbetrothM beauty ever-young ? 


Only when strange musicians softly play 

The ears are glad, and she an hour as they; — 

To them the noise is heaven, and to her 

A shadowy sweetness and a dying stir. 

Ay and sometimes, to such as seek her well, 

She in a momentary look can tell 

Somewhat of lonely longings, and confess 

A fragment of her passion's tenderness. 

Ah, best to rest ere love with worship dies, 
Pause at the first encounter of the eyes, 
Pass on and dream while yet both souls are free, 
'That soul I could have loved, if love could be.' " 

Thus I lamented, and upon me fell 
A sense of solitude more sad than hell, 
As one forgot, forsaken, and exiled 
Of God and man, from woman and from child : — 
Hush, hush, my soul, nor let thy speech draw near 
That last and incommunicable fear; 
All else shall poets sing, but this alone 
The man who tells it never can have known. 


Thank God ! this dizzying and extreme despair 
Not one short hour the human heart can bear, 
For with that woe the o'erburdened spirit soon 
Faints in the dark and fails into a swoon, 
The body sickens with the slackening breath, 
And the man dies, for this indeed is death. 

Lo for each separate soul the Eternal King 
Hath separate ways for peace and comforting; 
Then pardon if with such intent I tell 
The bliss which in my low estate befell : — 
For June midnight became the May mid-morn. 
In that enchanting home where I was born, 
When first the child-heart woke, the child-eyes knew 
The bud blush-roses and the sparkling dew. 
There gleamed the lake where lone St Herbert saw 
The solemn mornings and the soundless awe, — 
There were the ferns that shake, the becks that foam, 
The Derwent river and the Cumbrian home, — 
And there, as once, upon my infant head 
His blameless hands the Priest of Nature spread, 


Spake fitting words, and gave in great old age 
The patriarch's blessing and the bard's presage. 
Ah, with what sweet rebuke that vision came! 
With how pure hope I called on Wordsworth's name ! 

if on earth's green bosom one could lay, 
Like him, tired limbs and trustful head, and say, 
"To thee, to thee, my mother, I resign 

All of my life that still is only mine; 

1 want no separate pleasures, make me one 
With springing seasons in the rain and sun: 
To thy great heart our hearts for ever yearn; 
Thy children wander, let thy child return!" 

To such a man, by self-surrender wise, 
With the one soul of all things in his eyes, 
To such a life, embosomed and enfurled 
In the old unspoken beauty of the world, 
Might Nature with a sweet relenting show 
More of herself than men by knowledge know; 
Till, if he caught the soundless sighing breath 
Wherewith the whole creation travaileth, — 


If once to human ears revealed could be 

The immemorial secret of the sea, — 

By such great lessons might that man attain 

A life which is not pleasure, is not pain, — 

A life collected, elemental, strong, 

A sacrosanct tranquillity of song. 

Fed by the word unheard, the sight unseen, 

The breath that passes man and God between, 

When ere the end comes is the end begun. 

And the One Soul has flown into the One. 

Hereat my soul, which cannot spread for long 
Her tethered pinions in the heaven of song, 
To her poor home descending with a sigh 
Looked through her windows on the earth and sky: 
Where she had left the limbs she found them still. 
In the same blackness, on the silent hill, 
Yet for a while was her return sublime 
With dying echoes of the cosmic chime, 
And through the parted gloom there fell with her 
Some ray from Sire or Son or Comforter; 


For in mine ears the silence made a tune, 
And to mine eyes the dark was plenilune, 
And mountain airs and streams and stones and sod 
Bare witness to the Fatherhood of God. 

Zurich, June 30, 1870. 


" Or questi che dall' infima lacuna 

Deir universe insin qui ha vedute 

Le vite spiritali ad una ad una, 
Supplica a te per grazia di virtute 

Tanto che possa con gli occhi levarsi 

Piii alto verso I'ultima salute.'' 

Dante, Par. xxxiii. ^^ — 28. 

Friend, and it little matters if with thee 

In shadowed vales and night's solemnity 

Heart has met heart, and soul with soul has known 

A deathless kinship and one hope alone ; — 

Or if thy dear voice by mine ears unheard 

Has never spoken me one winged word, 

Nor mine eyes seen thee, nor my spirit guessed 

The answering spirit hidden in thy breast ; — 


Known or unknown, seen once and loved for long, 
Or only reached by this faint breath of song, 
In thine imagined ears I pour again 
A faltering message from the man in men, — 
Thoughts that are born with summer, but abide 
Past summer into sad Allhallowtide. 

The world without, men say, the needs within, 
Which clash and make what we call sorrow and 

Tend to adjustment evermore, until 
The individual and the cosmic will 
Shall coincide, and man content and free 
Assume at last his endless empery. 
Seeking his Eden and his Heaven no more 
By fabled streams behind him or before. 
But feeling Pison with Euphrates roll 
Round the great garden of his kingly soul. 

I answer that, so far, the type that springs 
Seems like a race of strangers, not of kings 


Less fit for earth, not more so ; rather say 
Grown like the dog who when musicians play- 
Feels each false note and howls, while yet the 

With doubtful pleasure tremulous thrill him 

Since man's strange thoughts confuse him, and 

With half-guessed raptures his ancestral joy. 

Meantime dim wonder on the untravelled way 
Holds our best hearts, and palsies all our day; 
One looks on God, and then with eyes struck 

Brings a confusing rumour to mankind ; 
And others listen, and no work can do 
Till they have got that God defined anew ; 
And in the darkness some have fallen, as fell 
To baser gods the folk of Israel, 
When with Jehovah's thunders heard too nigh 
They wantoned in the shade of Sinai. 



Take any of the sons our Age has nursed, 
Fed with her food and taught her best and worst ; 
Suppose no great disaster; look not nigh 
On hidden hours of his extremity ; 
But watch him like the flickering magnet stirred 
By each imponderable look and word, 
And think how firm a courage every day 
He needs to bear him on life's common way. 
Since even at the best his spirit moves 
Thro' such a tourney of conflicting loves, — 
Unwisely sought, untruly called untrue. 
Beloved, and hated, and beloved anew ; 
Till in the changing whirl of praise and blame 
He feels himself the same and not the same. 
And often, overworn and overwon, 
Knows all a dream and wishes all were done. 

I know it, such an one these eyes have seen 
About the world with his unworldly mien. 
And often idly hopeless, often bent 
On some tumultuous deed and vehement, 
M. 4 


Because his spirit he can nowise fit 

To the world's ways and settled rule of it, 

But thro' contented thousands travels on 

Like a sad heir in disinherison, 

And rarely by great thought or brave emprise 

Comes out about his life's perplexities, 

Looks thro' the rifted cloudland, and sees clear 

Fate at his feet and the high God anear. 

Ah let him tarry on those heights, nor dream 
Of other founts than that Aonian stream ! 
Since short and fierce, then hated, drowned, 

and dim 
Shall most men's chosen pleasures come to him, — 
Not made for such things, nor for long content 
With the poor toys of this imprisonment. 
Ay, should he sit one afternoon beguiled 
By some such joy as makes the wise a child, 
Yet if at twilight to his ears shall come 
A distant music thro' the city's hum. 
So slight a thing as this will wake again 


The incommunicable homeless pain, 

Until his soul so yearns to reunite 

With her Prime Source, her Master and Delight, 

As if some loadstone drew her, and brain and 

Ached with her struggle to get through to Him. 

And is this then delusion ? can it be 
That like the rest high heaven is phantasy? 
Can God's implicit promise be but one 
Among so many visions all undone? 

Nay, if on earth two souls thro' sundering fate 
Can save their sisterhood inviolate, 
If dimness and deferment, time and pain, 
Have no more lasting power upon those twain 
Than stormy thunderclouds which, spent and done, 
Leave grateful earth still gazing on the sun, — 
If their divine hope gladly can forgo 
Such nearness as this wretched flesh can know. 
While, spite of all that even themselves may do, 



Each by her own truth feels the other true: — 
Faithful no less is God, who having won 
Our spirits to His endless unison 
Betrays not our dependence, nor can break 
The oath unuttered which His silence spake. 

Oh dreadful thought, if all our sires and we 
Are but foundations of a race to be, — 
Stones which one thrusts in earth, and builds 

A white delight, a Parian Parthenon, 
And thither, long thereafter, youth and maid 
Seek with glad brows the alabaster shade, 
And in processions' pomp together bent 
Still interchange their sweet words innocent, — 
Not caring that those mighty columns rest 
Each on the ruin of a human breast, — 
That to the shrine the victor's chariot rolls 
Across the anguish of ten thousand souls! 

"Well was it that our fathers suffered thus," 


I hear them say, "that all might end in us; 
Well was it here and there a bard should feel 
Pains premature and hurt that none could heal ; 
These were their preludes, thus the race began; 
So hard a matter was the birth of Man." 

And yet these too shall pass and fade and flee, 
And in their death shall be as vile as we, 
Nor much shall profit with their perfect powers 
To have lived a so much sweeter life than ours, 
When at the last, with all their bliss gone by, 
Like us those glorious creatures come to die, 
With far worse woe, far more rebellious strife 
Those mighty spirits drink the dregs of life. 

Nay, by no cumulative changeful years. 
For all our bitter harvesting of tears, 
Shalt thou tame man, nor in his breast destroy 
The longing for his home which deadens joy; 
He cannot mate here, and his cage controls 
Safe bodies, separate and sterile souls ; 


And wouldst thou bless the captives, thou must 

The wild green woods which they again shall 


Therefore have we, while night serenely fell, 
Imparadised in sunset's cenomel, 
Beheld the empyrean, star on star 
Perfecting solemn change and secular, 
Each with slow roll and pauseless period 
Writing the solitary thoughts of God. 
Not blindly in such moments, not in vain, 
The open secret flashes on the brain, 
As if one almost guessed it, almost knew 
Whence we have sailed and voyage whereunto ; 
Not vainly, for albeit that hour goes by. 
And the strange letters perish from the sky, 
Yet learn we that a life to us is given 
One with the cosmic spectacles of heaven, — 
Feel the still soul, for all her questionings, 
Parcel and part of sempiternal things ; 


For us, for all, one overarching dome, 
One law the order, and one God the home. 

Ah, but who knows in what thin form and 
Through what appalled perplexities of change, 
Wakes the sad soul, which having once forgone 
This earth familiar and her friends thereon 
In interstellar void becomes a chill 
Outlying fragment of the Master Will ; 
So severed, so forgetting, shall not she 
Lament, immortal, immortality.' 

If thou wouldst have high God thy soul assure 
That she herself shall as herself endure, 
Shall in no alien semblance, thine and wise, 
Fulfil her and be young in Paradise, 
One way I know ; forget, forswear, disdain 
Thine own best hopes, thine utmost loss and gain, 
Till when at last thou scarce rememberest now 
If on the earth be such a man as thou, 


Nor hast one thought of self-surrender, — no, 
For self is none remaining to forgo, — 
If ever, then shall strong persuasion fall 
That in thy giving thou hast gained thine all, 
Given the poor present, gained the boundless 

And kept thee virgin for the further hope. 

This is the hero's temper, and to some 
With battle-trumpetings that hour has come. 
With guns that thunder and with winds that fall. 
With closing fleets and voices augural ; — ■ 
For some, methinks, in no less noble wise 
Divine prevision kindles in the eyes. 
When all base thoughts like frighted harpies flown 
In her own beauty leave the soul alone ; 
When Love, — not rosy-flushed as he began. 
But Love, still Love, the prisoned God in man, — 
Shows his face glorious, shakes his banner free, 
Cries like a captain for Eternity : — 
O halcyon air across the storms of youth, 


O trust him, he is true, he is one with Truth ! 
Nay, is he Christ ? I know not ; no man knows 
The right name of the heavenly Anter6s, — 
But here is God, whatever God may be. 
And whomsoe'er we worship, this is He. 

Ah, friend, I have not said it : who shall tell 
In wavering words the hope unspeakable .' 
Which he who once has known will labour long 
To set forth sweetly in persuasive song, 
Yea, many hours with hopeless art will try 
To save the fair thing that it shall not die. 
Then after all despairs, and leaves to-day 
A hidden meaning in a nameless lay. 


"Ein unbegreiflich holdes Sehnen 
Trieb mich, durch Wald und Wiesen hinzugehn, 
Und unter tausend heissen Thranen 
Fiihlt' ich mir eine Welt entstehn." — Goethe. 

How was it that he knew it ? ay, or where 

Beholding an immortal in the air 

Fixed he for aye, with swift touch unafraid, 

That vision of the vision of a maid, 

Whose hands are dropped, whose glowing eyes 

To some half-seen concent and heavenly quire. 
While at her sacred feet forgotten lie 
The useless tools of mortal minstrelsy ? 


True type of Art, which never long content 
Can feed her flame with song or instrument, 
Still from the bright supernal dream must draw 
Light on her brows, and language, and a law, 
If she her glorious message would renew, 
Live her great life, and make the picture true. 
Where stand that musical sweet maid anear 
Saint and evangelist and sage and seer ; 
They watch Cecilia's eyes, but not for them 
Opens on earth the heaven's Jerusalem. 

Thou whom with thrills, like the first thrills 
that stir 
In a girl's heart when Love is waking her, 
With set of soul like the blind strength that sways 
Beneath the moon's clear face the watery ways, 
God from a child has chosen and set apart 
For this one priesthood and last shrine of Art, 
See thou maintain thy calling; take no heed 
Of such as tell thee there is little need 
Of beauty on the earth till peace be here. 


That, till some true sun make the world less drear, 
All vainly flush in thy thin air withdrawn 
Auroral streamers of the untimely dawn. 

They err ; no other way as yet is known 
With God's dim purpose to unite our own, 
Except for each to follow as he can 
The central impulse that has made him man, 
Live his true self, and find his work and rest 
In toil or pleasure where that self is best. 

And hast thou chosen then .' canst thou endure 
The purging change of frost and calenture ; 
Accept the sick recoil, the weary pain 
Of senses heightened, keener nerves and brain — 
Suffer and love, love much and suffer long — 
And live thro' all, and at the last be strong.' 

For hard the Aonian heights, and far and few 
Their starry memories who have won thereto; 
Who to the end loved love, who still the same 
Followed lifelong the lonely road to fame ; 


And fame they found, with so great heart had they 
Traversed that open unfrequented way. 
Have courage ; follow ; yet no heart have I, 
O soul elect, thy pains to prophesy, 
Loth to myself to speak them, loth to know 
That creatures born for love are born for woe. 

Ay, if all else be spared thee, none the less 
Enough, enough to bear is loneliness — 
The hope that still, till hope with days be done, 
Must seek the perfect friend and find not one ; 
Not one of all whom thine eyes' mastering flame 
At will enkindles and at will can tame ; — 
Not one, O woman, of men strong and free 
Whom thy mere presence makes the slaves of thee. 
Yet thy king comes not, and the golden door 
To thy heart's heart is shut for evermore. 

Then oft thy very pulse shall sink away 
Sick with the length of disenchanted day. 
And after midnight, when the moon looks cold 


On lawn and skies grey-azure and grey-gold, 

So soft a passion to thy heart shall creep, 

To change the dreamful for the dreamless sleep, 

That turning round on that unrestful gloom 

And peopled silence of thy lonely room. 

Thou shalt need all the strength that God can give 

Simply to live, my friend, simply to live. 

Thou in that hour rejoice, since only thus 
Can thy proud heart grow wholly piteous, 
Thus only to the world thy speech can flow 
Charged with the sad authority of woe 
Since no man nurtured in the shade can sing 
To a true note our psalm of conquering; 
Warriors must chant it, whom our own eyes see 
Red from the battle and more bruised than we, 
Men who have borne the worst, have known the 

Have felt the last abeyance of the soul, 
Low in the dust with rigid face have lain. 
Self-scorned, self-spoiled, self-hated, and self-slain. 


Since all alike we bear, but all apart, 
One human anguish hidden at the heart, 
All with eyes faint, with hopes that half endure, 
Seek in the vault our vanished Cynosure, 
And strain our helpless oarage, and essay 
Thro' flood and fire the innavigable way. 

In such dark places truth lies hid, and still 
Man's wisdom comes on man against his will, 
And his stern sibyl, ere her tale she tell, 
Shows the shapes coiling at the gate of hell. 

Such be thy sorrows, yet methinks for them 
Thine Art herself has help and requiem ; 
Ah, when some painter, God-encompassed, 
Finds the pure passion, lives among the dead, — 
When angel eyes regarding thee enthral 
Thy spirit in the light angelical. 
And heaven and hope and all thy memories seem 
Mixed with their being in a lovely dream, — 
What place for anger.? what to thee is this 


That foe and friend judge justly or amiss ? 
No man can help or harm thee; far away 
Their voices sound and like thin air are they ; 
Thou with the primal Beauty art alone, 
And tears forgotten and a world thine own. 

How oft Fate's sharpest blows shall leave thee 

With some re-risen ecstasy of song ! 
How oft the unimagined message bound 
In great sonatas and a stormy sound 
Shall seize thee and constrain thee, and make 

thee sure 
That this is true, and this, and these endure, — 
Being at the root of all things, lying low, 
Being Life, and Love, and God has willed it so. 

Ah, strange the bond that in one great life 
All master-moments of all master-minds ! 
Strange the one clan that years nor wars destroy, 


The undispersed co-heritage of joy ! 
Strange that howe'er the sundering ages roll, 
From age to age shall soul encounter soul, 
Across the dying times, the world's dim roar. 
Speak each with each, and live for evermore! 
So have I seen in some deep wood divine 
The dark and silvery stems of birch and pine ; 
Apart they sprang, rough earth between them 

Tangled with • brambles and with briars, but they 
Met at their summits, and a rushing breeze 
Inlocked the topmost murmur of the trees. 

If only thou to thine own self couldst be 

As kind as God and Nature are to thee ! 

They lade thy bark for nought, they pile thereon 

With vain largess the golden cargason. 

If with thy royal joys not yet content 

Thou needs must lavish all, till all be spent, 

If thou wilt change for hurrying loves that die 

Thy strength, thine art, thine immortality, — 
M. 5 


If thou wilt see thy sweet soul burned like myrrh 
Before such gods as have no gift for her.* 

For even when once was God well pleased to shed 
His thousand glories on a single head, 
Amid our baffled lives and struggles dim, 
To make one fair and all fair things for him — 
Ah, what avail the eyes, the heart of flame, 
The angel nature in the angel name .'' 
Amid his fadeless art he fades away 
Fair as his pictures but more frail than they, 
Leaves deathless shrines, wherein sweet spirits dwell. 
But not, not yet, the soul of Raphael. 

Yet there are lives that mid the trampling throng 
With their prime beauty bloom at evensong, 
Souls that with no confusing flutter rise, 
Spread their wings once, and sail in Paradise, 

* "Tal che tanto ardo che n^ mar ne fiume 
Spegner potrian quel foco, ma piace 
Poich' il mio ardor tanto di ben mi face 
Ch' ardendo ognot piu d' arder mi consuma." — Raphael. 


Hearts for whom God has judged it best to know 
Only by hearsay sin and waste and woe, 
Bright to come hither and to travel hence 
Bright as they came, and wise in innocence ; 
So simply fair, so brave and unbeguiled, 
Set Christ among the twelve the wiser child. 
Wilt thou forget .? forget not ; keep apart 
A certain faithful silence in the heart ; 
Speak to no friend thereof, and rare and slow 
Let thine own thoughts to that their treasure go : — 
Ay, an unconscious look, a broken tone, 
A soft breath near thee timing with thine own. 
These are thy treasures ; dearer these to thee 
Than the whole store of lifelong memory ; 
Dearer than joys and passions, for indeed 
Those are blown blossoms, this the single seed. 
And life is winter for it, death is spring. 
And God the sun and heaven the harvesting. 

Oh would that life and strength and spirit and song 
Could come so flowing, could endure so long, 

s— 2 


As might suffice a little at least to praise 
The charm and glory of these latter days — 
To let the captive thoughts a moment fly 
That rise unsummoned and unspoken die! 
Oh were I there when oft in some still place 
Imagined music flushes in the face, 
And silent and sonorous, to and fro, 
Thro' the raised head the marching phrases flow! 
Were mine the fame, when all the air is fire 
With light and life and beauty and desire. 
When one, when one thro' all the electric throng 
Hurtles the jewel arrows of her song,— 
Then crashed from tier on tier, from hand and 

The ringing glory makes an old world young! 
O marvel, that deep-hid in earth should lie 
So many a seed and source of harmony, 
Which age on age have slept, and in an hour 
Surge in a sea and flame into a flower ; 
Which are a mystery ; which having wist 
From his great heart the master-melodist 


Strikes till the strong chords tremble and 

With tyrannous reversion of sweet sound, 
Till bar on bar, till quivering string on string. 
Break from their maker, are alive and sing, 
With force for ever on all hearts to roll 
Wave after wave the ocean of his soul ! 

Yet ah how feeble, ah how faint and low 
The organ peals, the silver trumpets blow ! 
Alas, the glorious thoughts which never yet 
Have found a sound in fugue or canzonet, 
Nor can the pain of their delight declare 
With magic of sweet figures and blue air ! 
Oh could one once by grace of God disclose 
The heart's last sigh, the secret of the rose ! 
But once set free the soul, and breathe away 
Life in the light of one transcendent day ! 

Not thus has God ordained it ; nay, but He 
To silent hearts is present silently ; 


He waits till in thee perish pride and shame, 
Sense of thyself, and all thy thoughts of fame ; 
Then when thy task is over. His begun, 
He leads thy soul where all the Arts are one — 
Leads to His shrine, and has of old unfurled 
To chosen eyes the wonder of the world. 
Then let no life but His, no love be near, 
Only in thought be even the dearest dear! 
No sound or touch must kindle or control 
This mounting joy, this sabbath of the soul : 
He gives a lonely rapture ; ay, as now 
From this dark height and Sanminiato's brow, 
Watching the beautiful ensanguined day 
From Bellosguardo fade and Fiesole, — 
Oh look how bridge and river, and dome and 

Become one glory in the rose-red fire. 
Till starlit Arno thro' the vale shall shine 
And sweep to sea the roar of Apennine ! 
This is the spirit's worship : even so 
I ween that in a dream and long ago, 


Wearing together in her happy hour 

The fruit of life and life's enchanting flower, 

Herself, alone, essential and divine, 

Came his own Florence to the Florentine, 

And lily-sceptred in his vision stood 

A city like the soul of womanhood. 

Florence, Jan. 1871. 


First Sister. 

When dusk descends and dews begin 

She sees the forest ghostly fair, 
And, half in heaven, is drinking in 

The moonlit melancholy air : 
The sons of God have charge and care 

Her maiden grace from foes to keep. 
And Jesus sends her unaware 

A maiden sanctity of sleep. 

Second Sister. 

In dreams, in dreams, with sweet surprise 
I see the lord of all these things ; 

From night and nought with eager eyes 
He comes, and in his coming sings : 


His gentle port is like a king's, 

His open face is free and fair, 
And lightly from his brow he flings 

The young abundance of his hair. 

First Sister. 

Oh who hath watched her kneel to pray 

In hours forgetful of the sun .'' 
Or seen beneath the dome of day 

The hovering seraph seek the nun .-' 
Her weary years at last have won 

A life from life's confusion free : 
What else is this but heaven begun, 

Pure peace and simple chastity .-' 

Second Sister. 

Oh never yet to mortal maid 

Such sad divine division came 
From all that stirs or makes afraid 

The gentle thoughts without a name ; 


Through all that lives a sacred shame, 
A pulse of pleasant trouble, flows, 

And tips the daisy's tinge of flame, 
And blushes redder in the rose. 

First Sister. 

From lifted head the golden hair 

Is soft and blowing in the breeze. 
And softly on her brows of prayer 

The summer-shadow flits and flees : 
Then parts a pathway thro' the trees, 

A vista sunlit and serene, 
And there and then it is she sees 

What none but such as she have seen. 

Second Sister. 

Oh if with him by lea and lawn 
I pressed but once the silvery sod, 

And scattered sparkles of the dawn 
From aster and from golden-rod, 


I would not tread where others trod, 
Nor dream as other maidens do, 

Nor more should need to ask of God, 
When God had brought me thereunto. 


Far off the old snows evernew 
With silver edges cleft the blue 

Aloft, alone, divine ; 
The sunny meadows silent slept. 
Silence the sombre armies kept, 

The vanguard of the pine. 

In that thin air the birds are still. 
No ringdove murmurs on the hill 

Nor mating cushat calls ; 
But gay cicalas singing sprang. 
And waters from the forest sang 

The song of waterfalls. 


O Fate ! a few enchanted hours 
Beneath the firs, among the flowers, 

High on the lawn we lay. 
Then turned again, contented well, 
While bright about us flamed and fell 

The rapture of the day. 

And softly with a guileless awe 
Beyond the purple lake she saw 

The embattled summits glow ; 
She saw the glories melt in one. 
The round moon rise, while yet the sun 

Was rosy on the snow. 

Then like a newly singing bird 

The child's soul in her bosom stirred ; 

I know not what she sung: — 
Because the soft wind caught her hair. 
Because the golden moon was fair. 

Because her heart was young. 


I would her sweet soul ever may 

Look thus from those glad eyes and grey, 

Unfearing, undefiled : 
I love her; when her face I see, 
Her simple presence wakes in me 

The imperishable child. 


Lo, as the poet finds at will 

Than tenderest words a tenderer still 

For one beside him prest; 
So from the Lord a mercy flows, 
A sweeter balm from Sharon's rose, 

For her that loves him best. 

And ere the early throstles stir 

With some sweet word from God for her 

The morn returns anew ; 
For her His face in the east is fair. 
For her His breath is in the air. 

His rainbow in the dew. 


At such an hour the promise falls 
With glory on the narrow walls, 

With strength on failing breath ; 
There comes a courage in her eyes, 
It gathers for the great emprize, 

The deeds of after death. 

Albeit thro' this preluding woe 
Subdued and softly she must go 

With half her music dumb, 
What heavenly hopes to her belong, 
And what a rapture, what a song. 

Shall greet His kingdom come 1 

So climbers by some Alpine mere 
Walk very softly thro' the clear 

Unlitten dawn of day : 
The morning star before them shows 
Beyond the rocks, beyond the snows, 

Their never-travelled way. 


Or so, ere singers have begun, 
The master-organist has won 

The folk at eve to prayer : 
So soft the tune, it only seems 
The music of an angel's dreams 

Made audible in air. 

But when the mounting treble shakes, 
When with a noise the anthem wakes 

A song forgetting sin, — 
Thro' all her pipes the organ peals. 
With all her voice at last reveals 

The storm of praise within. 

The trump ! the trump ! how pure and high ! 
How clear the fairy flutes reply ! 

How bold the clarions blow! 
Nor God Himself has scorned the strain. 
But hears it and shall hear again, 

And heard it long ago. 
M. 6 


Imprisoned in the soul and in the sin, 

Imprisoned in the body and the pain, 
The accustomed hateful memories within. 

Without the accustomed limbs that ache again : — 
Alas ! a melancholy peace to win 

With all their notes the nightingales complain, 
And I such music as is mine begin, 

Awake for nothing, and alive in vain. 
I find few words and falter ; then in scorn 
My lips are silent ; uncreate, unborn, 

Evanishes the visionary lay ; 
While from clear air upon my soul forlorn 
Falls thro' the heedless splendour of the morn 

A sadness as the sadness of to-day. 


My God, how many times ere I be dead 

Must I the bitterness of dying know? 
How often like a corpse upon my bed 

Compose me and surrender me and so 
Thro' hateful hours and ill-remembered 

Between the twilight and the twilight go 
By visions bodiless obscurely led 

Thro' many a wild enormity of woe ? 
And yet I know not but that this is worst 
When with that light, the feeble and the first, 

I start and gaze into the world again. 
And gazing find it as of old accurst 
And grey and blinded with the stormy burst 

And blank appalling solitude of rain. 



No breath is on the glimmering ocean-floor, 

No blast beneath the windless Pleiades, 
But thro' dead night a melancholy roar, 

A voice of moving and of marching seas, — 
The boom of thundering waters on the shore 

Sworn with slow force by desolate degrees 
Once to go on, and whelm for evermore 

Earth and her folk and all their phantasies. 
Then half-asleep in the great sound I seem 
Lost in the starlight, dying in a dream 

Where overmastering Powers abolish me, — 
Drown, and thro' dim euthanasy redeem 
My merged life in the living ocean-stream 

And soul environing of shadowy sea. 


Here let us leave him; for his shroud the snow, 
For funeral-lamps he has the planets seven, 

For a great sign the icy stair shall go 
Between the heights to heaven. 

One moment stood he as the angels stand. 
High in the stainless eminence of air ; 

The next, he was not, to his fatherland 
Translated unaware. 


So while the careless crowd have gazed and gone 

Sits one man stedfast in a chosen place, 
And of all faces which they gaze upon 
Desires one only face : 

For early morning finds the lover there, 

Also at eventide his eyes are dim. 
Till at the last he slowly is aware 
His soul has flown from him. 

So also he whom vanished organ-lays 

Have stung to jubilance and thrilled to tears 
Sits with sonorous memories of praise 
Tranced in his echoing ears : 


Thro' all his blood the billowy clangours roll, 

Thro' all his body leaps the living strain, 
And sweetly, stilly, in his hidden soul 
The soft notes sink again. 

Then while the trooping singers outward range 

He waits enthralled in that superb surprise : 
Like airy ghosts they pass him by, nor change 
His wide and wistful eyes. 

So stays he in high heaven a little space, 

Then treads the portal which the others trod, 
And issues into silence, face to face 
With darkness and with God, 


Lo if a man, magnanimous and tender, 
Lo if a woman, desperate and true, 

Make the irrevocable sweet surrender. 

Show to each other what the Lord can do, — 

Each, as I know, a helping and a healing, 
Each to the other strangely a surprise, 

Heart to the heart its mystery revealing, 
Soul to the soul in melancholy eyes, — 

Where wilt thou find a riving or a rending 
Able to sever them in twain again ? 

God hath begun, and God's shall be the ending, 
Safe in His bosom and aloof from men. 


Her thou mayest separate but shalt not sunder, 
Tho' thou distress her for a little while ; — 

Rapt in a worship, ravished in a wonder, 
Stayed on the stedfast promise of a smile. 

Scarcely she knoweth if his arms have found her — 
Waves of his breath make tremulous the air — 

Or if the thrill within her and around her 
Be but the distant echo of his prayer. 

Nay, and much more ; for love in his demanding 
Will not be bound in limits of our breath, 

Calls her to follow where she sees him standing 
Fairer and stronger for the plunge of death ; — 

Waketh a vision and a voice within her 

Sweeter than dreams and clearer than complaint, 

"Is it a man thou lovest, and a sinner? 
No ! but a soul, o woman, and a saint ! " 


Well, — if to her such prophecy be given, 
Strong to illuminate when sight is dim. 

Then tho' my Lord be holy in the heaven 
How should the heavens sunder me from Him ? 

She and her love, — how dimly has she seen him 
Dark in a dream and windy in a wraith ! 

I and my Lord, — between me and between Him 
Rises the lucent ladder of my faith. 

Ay, and thereon, descending and ascending, 
Suns at my side and starry in the air, 

Angels, His ministers, their tasks are blending. 
Bear me the blessing, render Him the prayer. 


O FOR one minute hark what we are saying ! 

This is not pleasure that we ask of Thee ! 
Nay, let all life be weary with our praying. 

Streaming of tears and bending of the knee :- 

Only we ask thro' shadows of the valley 
Stay of thy staff and guiding of thy rod. 

Only, when rulers of the darkness rally, 
Be thou beside us, very near, O God ! 


SOMEWHERE, somewhere, God unknown, 

Exist and be ! 

1 am dying ; I am all alone ; 

I must have Thee ! 

God ! God ! my sense, my soul, my all, 

Dies in the cry: — 
Saw'st thou the faint star flame and fall ? 

Ah ! it was I. 



Atlantid islands, phantom-fair, 

Throned on the solitary seas. 
Immersed in amethystine air, 

Haunt of Hesperides ! 
Farewell ! I leave Madeira thus 
Drowned in a sunset glorious, 
The Holy Harbour fading far 
Beneath a blaze of cinnabar. 


What sights had burning eve to show 
From Tacoronte's orange-bowers. 

From palmy headlands of Ycod, 
From Orotava's flowers ! 


When Palma or Canary lay 
Cloud-cinctured in the crimson day, — 
Sea, and sea-wrack, and rising higher 
Those purple peaks 'twixt cloud and fire. 


But oh the cone aloft and clear 

Where Atlas in the heavens withdrawn 

To hemisphere and hemisphere 
Disparts the dark and dawn ! 

O vaporous waves that roll and press ! 

Fire-opalescent wilderness ! 

O pathway by the sunbeams ploughed 

Betwixt those pouring walls of cloud 1 


We watched adown that glade of fire 

Celestial Iris floating free ; 
We saw the cloudlets keep in choir 

Their dances on the sea ; 


The scarlet, huge, and quivering sun 
Feared his due hour was overrun, — 
On us the last he blazed, and hurled 
His glory on Columbus' world. 

Then ere our eyes the change could tell, 

Or feet bewildered turn again. 
From Tenerifife the darkness fell 
Head-foremost on the main : — 
A hundred leagues was seaward thrown 
The gloom of Teyde's towering cone, — 
Full half the height of heaven's blue 
That monstrous shadow overflew. 


Then all is twilight ; pile on pile 

The scattered flocks of cloudland close. 

An alabaster wall, erewhile 
Much redder than the rose ! — 


Falls like a sleep on souls forspent 
Majestic Night's abandonment ; 
Wakes like a waking life afar 
Hung o'er the sea one eastern star. 


O Nature's glory, Nature's youth, 

Perfected sempiternal whole ! 
And is the World's in very truth 

An impercipient Soul i 
Or doth that Spirit, past our ken, 
Live a profounder life than men. 
Awaits our passing days, and thus 
In secret places calls to us .' 


O fear not thou, whate'er befall 
Thy transient individual breath ;— 

Behold, thou knowest not at all 
What kind of thing is Death : 


And here indeed might Death be fair, 
If Death be dying into air, — 
If souls evanished mix with thee, 
Illumined Heaven, eternal Sea. 




(palri K aBavarovs Kal ay-^pois efi/ievai akl 
OS TOT €TravTi.daeL ot 'laoves adpooi eXey. 

The crimson leafage fires the lawn, 

The piled hydrangeas blazing glow; 
How blue the vault of breezy dawn 

Illumes the Atlantic's crested snow ! 
'Twixt sea and sands how fair to ride 

Through whispering airs a starlit way, 
And watch those flashing towers divide 

Heaven's darkness from the darkling bay ! 

Ah, friend, how vain their pedant's part. 
Their hurrying toils how idly spent, 

How have they wronged the gentler heart 
Which thrills the awakening continent, 


Who have not learnt on this bright shore 
What sweetness issues from the strong, 

Where flowerless forest, cataract-roar, 
Have found a blossom and a song ! 

Ah, what imperial force of fate 

Links our one race in high emprize ! 
Nor aught henceforth can separate 

Those glories mingling as they rise ; 
For one in heart, as one in speech, 

At last have Child and Mother grown, — 
Fair Figures ! honouring each in each 

A beauty kindred with her own. 

Through English eyes more calmly <soft 

Looks from grey deeps the appealing charm ; 
Reddens on English cheeks more oft 

The rose of innocent alarm : — 
Our old-world heart more gravely feels, 

Has learnt more force, more self-control ; 
For us through sterner music peals 

The full accord of soul and soul. 



But ah, the life, the smile untaught. 

The floating presence feathery-fair ! 
The eyes and aspect that have caught 

The brilliance of Columbian air ! 
No oriole through the forest flits 

More sheeny-plumed, more gay and free ; 
On no nymph's marble forehead sits 

Proudlier a glad virginity. 

So once the Egyptian, gravely bold, 

Wandered the Ionian folk among. 
Heard from their high Letoon rolled 

That song the Delian maidens sung ; 
Danced in his eyes the dazzling gold. 

For with his voice the tears had sprung, — 
" They die not, these ! they wax not old. 

They are ever-living, ever-young ! " 

Spread then, great land ! thine arms afar, 
Thy golden harvest westward roll ; 

Banner with banner, star with star. 
Ally the tropics and the pole ; — 


There glows no gem than these more bright 
From ice to fire, from sea to sea ; 

Blossoms no fairer flower to light 
Through all thine endless empery. 

And thou come hither, friend ! thou too 

Their kingdom enter as a boy ; 
Fed with their glorious youth renew 

Thy dimmed prerogative of joy : — 
Come with small question, little thought. 

Through thy worn veins what pulse shall flow, 
With what regrets, what fancies fraught, 

Shall silver-footed summer go : — 

If round one fairest face shall meet 

Those many dreams of many fair. 
And wandering homage seek the feet 

Of one sweet queen, and linger there ; 
Or if strange winds betwixt be driven, 

Unvoyageable oceans foam, 
Nor this new earth, this airy heaven. 

For thy sad heart can find a home. 
Newport, R. I., Seft., 1879. 


To him our wisest, him our best, 

What praise or guerdon could we bring ? 
What crown of ours could show confest 

Our crownless unanointed king ? — 
Our hearts we gave him; strong and true 

His heart replied, to help or heal, 
Yet dumbly in his look we knew 

A nameless infinite appeal. 

Wealth, honours, fame, — hope's common range,- 
We named and smiled and passed them by:- 

No shine or shade without could change 
The vision of that inward eye. 


That temple by great thoughts upbuilt 
Was void and stedfast, cold and fair ; 

No wine was on its altar spilt, 

A god unknown was worshipped there. 

Yet rarely thro' its heights he heard 

Egerian echoes floating free ; 
An unbeholden presence stirred 

His brow's austere serenity. 
Then from the altar flashed the flame, 

Flowed on the hearth the fervid wine, — 
From heaven and air the answer came 

And stood a Spirit in the shrine. 

One voice alone, one only hand. 

The immaterial gift could give, 
Could bid the world-wide soul expand, 

A heart within the great heart live : — 
No word of praise she sought to say, 

For him no worldly crown to win, 
But with a look, and in a day, 

She gave a kingdom from within, 


fate ordained, august, secure, 

And Love the child that never dies. 
When to the stainless earth is pure 

And life all wisdom to the wise ! 
Aye shall the inner hope endure 

That looks from their illumined eyes ; 
Thro' this the very world stands sure, 

And souls like these are Paradise. 


Oh, not like ours that life was born, 

No mortal mother Shelley knew, 
But kindled by some starry morn 

Lit like a snow-flake from the blue ; 
Saw on some peak the lightnings gleam, 

The lingering soft auroras play; 
Then foamlike on a leaping stream 

Sped downwards to the earthly day. 

So keen a wish had winged his flight — 
His heart was faint with such desire — 

To bear from that supernal light 
A Promethean fount of fire ; 


His quivering thyrsus flashed with flame, 
He sang the spell long learnt above ; 

With ardent eyes one only name 

He named; the mountains echoed "Love!" 

But ah! for men no healing wrought 

That spell, that spirit's angel bloom: 
Close, close about him frowned and fought 

Their words of anger, looks of gloom: 
Gloomed overhead the iron reign 

Of stifling custom, hates that kill ; 
From Earth's dark places sighed in vain 

Her old immedicable ill. 

"And yet methinks one soul might know 

The bliss unknown, the tale untold ! 
One heart might melt in mine, and so 

For twain at least the age be gold!" 
He called; — and ah! what mortal maid 

Had heard unmoved that seraph tongue ? 
What Daphne lingered in her shade 

When that unstained Apollo sung.? 


But oft in vain shall love be given 

When mighty spirits mourn alone; 
Too rarely, rarely falls from heaven 

A woman-heart to match their own : 
He saw his Vision smile in sleep, 

And close she seemed, and floated far; 
Life-long across life's darkling deep 

He chased that image of a star. 

Yet, with an Orphic whisper blent, 

A Spirit in the west-wind sighs ; 
Gaze from the conscious firmament 

Some God's unfathomable eyes : 
He saw, he felt them : "Thou be mine, 

As I am thine, thou primal whole ! 
Ye elements, my life enshrine, 

Enfold, entomb me, soul in soul!" 

He called ; they heard him ; high in air 
The impetuous Winds came whirling free ; 

Dashed on his brow, swept through his hair 
Untamed caresses of the Sea ; 


The Fire up-leapt in ardent birth 
To her thin substance his to win ; 

That heart of hearts the daedal Earth, 
Her own unfolding, drew therein. 


O HOLY heart of England! inmost shrine 

Of Mary's grace divine ; 
Proud aisles, where all things noble, all things 

Her sweet soul magnify; 
Vaults where the bones of mighty kings are laid, 

Blest by a Mother-Maid! 
One heart, great shrine, thou knewest then, be 

As thine own Mistress pure; 
Eyes that like hers by supplication bless. 

And reign by lowliness. 


Oh solemn hour, and on Love's altar sent 

Sun-fire for sacrament, 
When in the age-old answers she and I 

Made each to each reply; — 
Ay, for a moment rose and were alone 

With Him who was our own. 
While wide on earth heaven's height made luminous 

Shone, and the Lord on us. 
O Priest, whose voice from that irradiant sun 

Proclaimed the twain made one, — 
Amid the banners of his Order spake 

That oath no age can break ! 
Voice of a Ruler born to soothe and sway 

Man on his wandering way, 
Dowered with the courage glad, the wisdom mild, 

Which keep the sage a child; 
Whose high thoughts immanent have built him 

A shrine in the upper air 
Stainless, and still, and ever oftener trod 

By messengers of God! 


While to that voice amid those memories heard 

Answered her underword, 
No wonder if the Eternal Presence then 

Seemed mute no more to men, 
Nor gulf betwixt, nor any darkness shed 

On souls miscalled the dead; 
Since we and they, henceforth or long ago, 

One life alone can know; — 
Since from seas under earth to stars above 

There is no joy but love, 
Nor in God's house shall any glory be 

Save God and such as she. 


"Elysian beauty, melancholy grace, 
Brought from a pensive, though a happy place." 

For many a year the master wrought, 

And wisdom deepened slow with years ; 
Guest-chambers of his inmost thought 

Were filled with shapes too stern for tears ; — 
Yet Joy was there, and murmuring Love, 

And Youth that hears with hastened breath, 
But, throned in peace all these above, 

The unrevealing eyes of Death. 



Faces there were which won him yet, 

Fair daughters of an iron age: 
In iron truth pourtrayed he set 

Warrior and statesman, bard and sage. 
From hidden deeps their past he drew. 

The ancestral bent of stock and stem; 
More of their hearts than yet they knew 

Thro' their own gaze looked out on them. 


Yet oftenest in the past he walked, 

With god or hero long gone by. 
Oft, like his pictured Genius, talked 

With rainbow forms that span the sky: 
Thereto his soul hath listed long, 

When silent voices spake in air, — 
Hath mirrored many an old-world song 

Remote and mystic, sad and fair. 

M. 8 



For here the Thracian, vainly wise, 

Close on the light his love has led ; — 
Oh hearken ! her melodious cries 

Fade in the mutter of the dead : — 
" Farewell ! from thy embrace I pass, 

Drawn to the formless dark alone : 
I stretch my hands, — too weak, alasi 

And I no more, no more thine own." 


And here is she whom Art aflame 

Smote from the rock a breathing maid ; 
Calm at the fiery call she came, 

Looked on her lover unafraid ; 
Nor quite was sure if life were best, 

And love, till love with life had flown. 
Or still with things unborn to rest. 

Ideal beauty, changeless stone. 



Ah ! which the sweeter .' she who stands, 

A soul to woe that moment born, — 
Regretfully her aimless hands 

Drooping by Psyche's side forlorn .' — 
Woke with a shock the god unknown. 

And sighing flushed, and flying sighed : 
Grey in the dawning stands alone 

His desolate and childly bride. 


Or she whose soft limbs swiftly sped 

The touch of very gods must shun. 
And, drowned in many a boscage, fled 

The imperious kisses of the sun .' 
Mix, mix with Daphne, branch and frond, 

O laurel-wildness, laurel-shade ! 
Let Nature's life, — no love beyond, — 

Make all the marriage of the maid ! 




Or she who, deep in Latmian trees, 

Stoops from the height her silver sheen ? 
Dreams in a dream her shepherd sees 

The crescent car, the bending queen. 
One kiss she gives; the Fates refuse 

A closer bond or longer stay : 
The boy sleeps still ; her orb renews 

Its echoless unmated way. 


All these some hope unanswered know, 

Some laws that prison, fates that bar; 
Baffled their spirit-fountains flow 

Toward things diviner and afar. 
Such dole at heart their painter felt, 

Within, without, such sights to see ; 
Who in our monstrous London dwelt. 

And half remembered Arcady. 


Ah, sure, those springs of joy and pain 

By some remote recall are stirred ; 
His ancient Guardians smile again, 

And touch a colour, speak a word. 
Not all asleep thy gods of Greece 

Lie tumbled on the Coan shore : — 
O painter ! thou that knew'st their peace 

Must half remember evermore ! 


So gazed on Phidias' Warrior-maid, 

Methinks, ^Egina's kingly boy: — 
She stood, her Gorgon shield displayed. 

Too great for love, too grave for joy. 
All day her image held him there ; 

This world, this life, with day grew dim ; 
Some glimmering of the Primal Fair 

Pre-natal memories woke in him, 



Then as he walked, like one who dreamed, 

Thro' silent highways silver-hoar, 
More wonderful that city seemed. 

And he diviner than before : — ■ 
A voice was calling. All is ' well ; 

Clear in the vault Selene shone. 
And over Plato's homestead fell 

The shadow of the Parthenon. 




Reflections in the Campo Santo at Pisa. The fresco, ascribed to 
Orcagna, which represents Death at the Festival, suggests the 
thought that it may be better to die in the flush of youth than to 
live on into a state of decadence and disgust with life (r — 30). He 
who thus feels the freshness of youth escaping him cannot renew it 
by the mere contact with the fresh emotion of others (31 — 58). His 
habitual melancholy contrasts painfully with the accesses of grief 
which alternated with keen joy in his earlier years (59 — 92). If he 
now occasionally fancies that the old power of feeling remains to 
him, the illusion does not last long, and he is fain to acquiesce in 
the exhaustion of his emotional power (93 — 114). Yet he can 
scarcely avoid bitterness at the thought of how small his share of 
emotional delight has been in comparison with all that the future 
holds in reserve for mankind (115 — 146). Sometimes he vrill shape 
a vision of some ideal love which might have been his, though well 
knowing that even .should some one be born into the world who 
realizes his dream he will have no part in her affections or memories 
(147 — 176). Instinctively revolting at the prospect of an approach- 


ing extinction he reviews with alternations of hope and despair the 
possibility of a future existence (177 — ^^i). Light on this subject 
often seems as unattainable now as in the days when Virgil pon- 
dered the same problems (223 — 240). But certain moments seem to 
carry with them something of inspired insight or of lofty emotion 
which is at any rate the best basis for practice (241 — 290). At any 
rate a man by the sheer effort of the Will may maintain himself in 
that state of inflexible fearlessness which Virgil admires in Lucretius 
(291 — 296). The languor and melancholy which the aspect of Pisa 
symbolises may be overcome by this resolute courage, this ' living 
force of the mind ' which Lucretius found strong enough to afford to 
mankind at least the triumph of intellectual insight and philosophic 
calm (297 — 312). 



At Pisa, where the cypress-spires alway 

Stand in the languor of the Pisan day, 

And airs are motionless, and Arno fills 

With brimming hush the hollow of the hills ; — 

There once alone, from noon till evening's shade, 

I paced the echoing cloistral colonnade ; 

Heard like a dream the grey rain-river fall 

On hallowed turf that hath the end of all ; 

Saw like a ghost the flying form that saith, 

" Orcagna knew me ; know me ; I am Death." lo 

Come then, I said, kind Death, come ever thus. 
Swift with a sword on young men amorous ! 


And thou, youth, thank her that her wiry wings 
Snatch thee full-blooded from the feast of kings ; 
Nor live to outlive thyself, to sigh and know 
With waxing restlessness a waning glow ; 
Even from those hateful ashes of desire 
To feel reborn the cold and fruitless fire ; 
To look, and long a little, and turn aside. 
Half over-satiate, half unsatisfied. 20 

Then is no help but that thine eyes must see 
Thine inner self stand forth and mock at thee; 
Must watch to death in shadowy convoy roll 
Thy strength, thy song, thy beauty and thy soul. 
No help ! and with what anger shalt thou then 
Look on the glad lives of up-springing men, 
With hearts still high, and still before them fair 
All oceans navigable and ambient air ; — 
How shalt thou love, and envy, and despise 
Their hope unreasonable and ardent eyes ! 30 

Then if some stainless maid desires no more 
Than her fresh soul into thy soul to pour, — 


All her pure glory at .thy feet will fling, 

And give thee youth and ask not anything ; — 

Take not the boon illusive ; — yet I know 

That thou wilt take and she will have it so; 

Nor once alone ; but thou in vain shalt see 

On many a cheek the rose of amity, 

And for no lasting profit shalt essay 

On many a heart thy mastering wistful way, 40 

And speak thus gently, and regard her thus 

With loving eyes a little tyrannous, — 

As though her passion passion's power could give, 

Or heart could melt in heart, or death could live. 

Alas, in vain shall that love-light illume 
Her cheek transparent and her rosy bloom, 
And hopes that flush and happy thoughts that rise 
Make living lucid sapphire of her eyes ; — 
Since all is nothing, and aloof, alone. 
With swirl and severance as of Arve and Rhone, 50 
Must heart from heart dissunder; way from way 
Part, and to-morrow know not of to-day. 


So weighs the Past upon us ; such a thing 
It is to have grown too wise for comforting ; 
In a few notes to have sung all thy song, 
And in a few years to have lived too long ; 
Till thy mere voice and soulless shadow now 
Recall that this was thine, and this was thou. 

O sweet young hours, when one divine love yet 
Seemed a new birth thou never couldst forget ! 60 
When day on day for the impassioned boy 
Came flooding like a silver sea of joy, — 
So keen that often o'er his eyes would sweep 
The gracious wings of momentary sleep. 
To leave their light re-risen, and the brain 
Re-kindled for the rapture that was pain ! 

Then griefs wherein no thought of self had 

The just and manful angers of the heart, — 
When hands would clench, and clear cheek light 

and glow. 
To be so powerless for another's woe, 70 


And young disdain, and love, and generous fears 
Burst in a proud simplicity of tears ! 

Ah ! even those pains were noble ! strange and 
As thunders of the breaking calenture, 
When storm-refreshed the bounding rivers run. 
And the oak shakes his diamonds in the sun. 
Nor cares how brightly on the forest flew 
That wildering levin-bolt alive anew. 

But these succeeding sorrows I compare 
To the chill ruin of October air, 80 

When all earth's life is spent, nor can regain 
Strength in^ the hopeless pauses of the rain, 
But scarce the dumb woods shiver, and at a breath 
Falls the wan leaf, and then they whisper, 'Death.' 

For faiths will die and ancient landmarks fail, 
And promised Eden grow a lovely tale ; 
And even, by length of years, by sheer decay, 
The fiery flower of Love consumes away; 


No help to seek, and none to blame, but gone 
Like all things else that men set life upon ; 90 
Like all that seemed immortal, all that smiled 
Mixt with the morn and glory of the child. 

Then one at last in cities far away 
Hears late in night lamenting hautboys play, 
Sees glittering all in swan-soft order sit 
That kingdom's fairest and the pride of it ; 
Till, when one face amid all faces seems 
Lit with the witchery of a thousand dreams, 
He wonders, — could he change his race and tongue, 
And once be joyous, and again be young, — 100 
If, leaning o'er that braided golden head. 
New words and sweeter he should find unsaid. 
And a last secret and pervading stir 
In the soft look and woman-ways of her. 

Nay, the fond dream he would so fain prolong 
Breaks with a shock of intermitting song, 
And truth returns, and in a single sigh 
Must that faint love be born at once and die. 


' For soon,' he saith, ' will feverous dreams be 

Exhaustion surely shall beget content; no 

I have lost my battle ; doubtless it is best 
To have no longing left me but for rest ; 
In this worn heart, with some last love's decease, 
To make a solitude and call it peace.' 

Yet when a wave of happy laughter low 
Stirs in his soul the deep of long ago; — 
When his world-wearied ears have overheard 
From sweet new lips a sweet accustomed word ; — ■ 
Then all awakes again, and worse than nought 
Seem the best passions which his youth has 
brought, — 120 

Being such a drop in so profound a sea, 
Having given one glimpse of Love's supremacy. 
Shown at a glance what great delight shall come 
When his eyes see not and his lips are dumb. 
How many a glorious joy for ever missed ! 
How many words unspoken, lips unkissed ! 
M. 9 


Eyes that shall yet renew with softer play 
Thro' many a century the world-old way; — 
Hearts from whose glow shall glory of love be shed 
Round hearts still living, and o'er his tomb long 

, dead ! 130 

Man, while thou mayst, love on ! with sound 
and flowers 
Make maddening moments into maddening hours, 
Let hours aflame enkindle as they fly 
Those loves of yore that in thy darkness die : — 
Blest, in that glamour could all life be spent 
Before the dawn and disillusionment ! 
Love on ! thy far-off children shall possess 
That flying gleam of rainbow happiness : — 
Each wish unfilled, impracticable plan, 
Goes to the forging of the force of Man ; 140 
Thro' thy blind craving novel powers they gain, 
And the slow Race developes in its pain : — 
Sec their new joy begotten of thy woe, 
When what thy soul desired their soul shall know; — 


Thy heights unchmbed shall be their wonted way, 
Thy hope their memory, and thy dream their day. 

Ah, but I had a vision once, nor dare 
Recall it often, lest it melt in air! 
Whose was the face that thro' the shadows came 
And shook the dew from hair that waved like 
flame? 150 

What made her look aerial ? ay, or shed 
Divineness on that visionary head ? 
And whence the words that on her silence hung, 
Looked thro' her eyes and died upon her tongue ? — 
' Love, who had dreamt it, who had dared to say 
Our bliss could come so close, and flee away ? ' 

Not even the Night shall know her ; it may be 
Some falling star would speak it to the sea; 
Then the sea's voice would to the shore declare 
The hidden sweetness of the First and Fair, 160 
And fisher-maidens into morn prolong 
For love the amorous echoes of the song. 



Yet if indeed that dear face fugitive, 
The dream-begotten, in the day shall live, 
And through night's spaces floats the lovely shade 
Before the birth and body of the maid, — 
How sweet it were to die and still be strong, 
To clasp her close with grave and mastering 

song, — 
That she with no interpreter might see 
The sincere man and hidden heart of thee, 170 
And down her soft cheek happy tears might roll, 
Hearing the dead voice of the sister-soul ! 

How slight and how impossible a boon 
I ask, and love too late, or live too soon ! 
Only the brief regret, the grace of sighs, 
I ask ; can Fate deny it ? Fate denies. 

Crushed, as by following wave the wave before! 
To have lived and loved so little, and live no more! 
Call this not sleep; through sweet sleep's longest 

scope ■ 
Runs in a golden dream unconscious Hope ; 180 


Hope parts the lips and stirs the happy breath, 
And sleep is sleep, but endless Death is Death. 

Hereat the soul will evermore recur 
To that great chance which makes herself for 

If but the least light glimmer and least hope glow 
From that unseen place which no soul can know, — 
Whereof so many a sage hath spun in vain 
Thoughts fancy-fashioned in a dreaming brain; — 
Whereof the priests, for all they say and sing. 
Know none the more, nor help in anything; — 190 
Nor more herein can man to man avail 
Than to his sorrowing mate the nightingale, — 
Nor more can brother unto brother tell 
Than blind who leads the blind, though loving 

well : — 
If by some gleam unearthly indeed be lit 
That land, and God the sun and moon of it,— 
How easy then, how possible to bear 
The thoughts that come at night, and are despair, — 


Youth wasted, hopes decaying, friends untrue, 

Life with no faith to follow or deed to do; 200 

Loves lost, and waning joys, and waked again 

The old unquenchable relapse of pain ; — 

And through these all the ceaseless fruitless fire, 

The upward heavenward flickering fierce desire. 

The thrilling pang, the tremor of unrest, 

The quickening God unborn within the breast, 

Which none believe but who have felt, and they 

Feel evermore by night and in the day; 

For tho' in early youth such longing rose 

This single passion gathers as it goes; 210 

And this at dawn wakes with thee, this at even 

Hangs in the kindling canopies of heaven ; 

This, like a hidden water's running tune 

Revives the wistful pause of afternoon ; — 

For strength is this and weakness, hope and fear 

By turns, as far sometimes, sometimes anear, 

Glows the great Hope, which all too oft will 

A false inherited delightful dream, 


Dreamt of our fathers for blind ease, which we 
Knowing that they knew not, seeing they could not 
see, 220 

Must wake from and have done with, and be brave 
Without a heaven to hope or God to save. 

O sighs that strongly from my bosom flew ! 
O heart's oblation sacrificed anew! 
O groans and tears of all men and of mine ! 
O many midnights prostrate and supine, 
Unbearable and profitless, and spent 
For the empty furtherance of a vain intent, — 
From God or Nothingness, from Heaven or Hell, 
To wrest the secret that they would not tell, — 230 
To grasp a life beyond life's shrinking span 
And learn at last the chief concerns of man ! 

O last last hope when all the rest are flown ! 
O one thing worth the knowing, and still unknown ! 
O sought so passionately and found no more 
To-day than when the sad voice sang of yore, 


How 'God the innumerous souls in great array 
To Lethe summons by a wondrous way, 
Till these therein their ancient pain forgive, 
Forget their life, and will again to live.' 240 

Yet in some hours when earth and heaven are 
In some sabbatical repose of air. 
When all has passed that dizzied or defiled, 
And thy clear soul comes to thee as a child, 
Then incorruptible, unending, free, 
Like the moon's golden road upon the sea. 
The light of life on unbewildered eyes 
A moment dawns, and in a moment dies. 

So dimly glad may some lone heart recall 
Perchance a magic end of evenfall, 250 

When far on misty fells the moon has made 
An argent fleece, and neither shine nor shade; 
Hills beyond hills she silvers as she sails, 
Hills beyond hills, and valleys in the vales; 


Till they that float and watch her scarcely feel 
The liquid darkness tremble at the keel, 
Beholding scarce behold her, hardly dare 
To look one look through that enchanted air, 
Lest some unknown God should no longer hide 
His glory from his creatures glorified, 260 

Should shine too manifest, too soon display 
To eyes that dream the immeasurable day. 

Remember; I remember; hast not thou 
Hours in the past more living than all life now.'' 
One hour, perchance, that thro' the hush of fate 
In shadowy veil came to thee consecrate, 
Known without knowledge, felt without a name, — 
And life brings other hours, but not the same? 

This, then, was revelation; this shall be 
Thy crown of youth and star of memory ; 270 
Strong in this strength the ennobled years shall 

And life grow single and thy will be one ; — 


Ay, like great passages in order played 
Shall changeful life grow one and unafraid ; — 
For these are one in many, and tho' sometimes 
The bell-like melodising rings and rhymes, 
And warbles such a whisper now and then, 
Too sweet, and scarce endurable to men, 
Yet on thro' all the tune returns the same. 
Embattled resonance, a flooding flame, 280 

And dies to live again, and wins, and still 
Rules the great notes and sways them as it will : — 
Thus let thy life thro' all adventure go. 
And keep it masterful, and save it so ; — 
Not reared too separate nor lulled too long 
By the incommunicable trance of song. 
Nor over-amorous, nay, nor overset 
Too sweetly by the fain and fond regret. 
The after-thought of kisses, and the tear 
For loves whom day disparts and dreams bring 
near. 290 

Since what man is man knows not, but he knows 
That his one will is like a trump that blows; — 


While breath is in him it can clarion well, 
Heaven-sweet, and heard above the roar of hell ; 
Ay, ' Fate and Fear beneath his feet are thrown, 
All Fears and Fates, and Hell's insatiate moan.' 

Then, Pisa, let thy sullen airs o'erhead 
Lull that unaltering city of the dead ; 
Let swimming Arno, hushed at last like thee, 
Draw to his doom and gather to the sea; 300 
Fold upon fold let rainy evening roll. 
And thy deep bells strike death upon the soul ; — 
There is a courage that from need began, 
And grows with will, and is at last the man; 
Which on thro' storm, thro' darkness, thro' despair, 
Hopes, and will hope, and dares, and still can dare ; 
And this is Virtue; and thou canst not bind 
O Death, this 'living spirit of the mind,' 
Which 'far aloof,' the Roman verses say, 
' Holds an unseen illimitable way ; 31° 

Far, far aloof can sail with wings unfurled 
Beyond the flaming rampire of the world.' 



I KNEW a maid ; her form and face 

Were lily-slender, lily-fair; 
Hers was a wild unconscious grace, 

A ruddy-golden crown of hair. 

Thro' those child-eyes unchecked, untamed, 
The happy thoughts transparent flew, 

Yet some pathetic touch had tamed 
To gentler grey their Irish blue. 

So from her oak a Dryad leant 

To look, with wondering glance and gay, 
Where Jove, uncrowned and kingly, went 

With Maia down the woodland way. 


Their glory lit the amorous air ; 

The golden touched the Olympian head ; 
But Zephyr o'er Cyllene bare 

That secret the Immortals said. 

The nymph they saw not, passing nigh ; 

She melted in her leafy screen ; 
But from the boughs that seemed to sigh 

A dewdrop trembled on the green. 

That nymph her oak for aye must hold ; 

The girl has life and hope, and she 
Shall hear one day the secret told. 

And roam herself in Arcady. 

I see her still ; her cheek aglow, 

Her gaze upon the future bent ; 
As one who through the world will go 

Beloved, bewitching, innocent. 


Ah, no more questions, no more fears, 

But let us at the end have rest; 
Shed if thou wilt the unfallen tears, 

But shed them on my breast. 
Who guesses what the unfathomed years 

May bear of life and love and woe ? 
Not in our eyes nor to our ears 

Those things are plain to know. 

We only feel that side by side 

Each loving shoulder leans on each, 
With looks too precious to divide 

By fragmentary speech. 
Nor this nor aught can long abide, 

But passes, passes like to-day, 
Till each shall fare without a guide 
The uncompanioned waj'. 


Who to the grave child-eyes could teach 
Unknown Love's tremor and his play ; 

The silences that crown his speech, 
His bitter-sweet and mourning way ? 

Thro' those dark deeps I saw him rise, 
And stir the spirit's soft control, 

And shake the imaged world that lies 
Fair on the mirror of her soul. 

How oft thro' woodlands undefiled 
She rode amid the spring-tide's stir ! 

Fierce creatures at her touch were mild 
And dumb things spake for love of her. 

Then all at once her heart would beat, 
And from her gaze the gladness died ; 

She drew the rein, before her feet 
The sunset vales lay glorified. 


Alone and ardent, fair and young, 
O woman smit with woman's pain ! 

O song thro' all her being sung 
Of Love delaying, Love in vain ! 

That voiceless passion Love had heard, 
Denied it strangely, strangely gave ; 

Sighed in a smile and sent my bird 

Bright-plumaged o'er the sundering wave. 

As though the soul of all things wild, 
The soul of all things brave and free, 

Came in the likeness of a child 
From tossing forests over-sea ; 

And softly to my bosom stole. 

And o'er my heart in freshness blew, 

Until that living loving soul 
Became my life, my love anew. 


O GENTLE rushing of the stainless stream, 
Haunt of that maiden's dream ! 

beech and sycamore, whose branches made 

Her dear ancestral shade ! 

1 call you praying ; for she felt your power 

In many an inward hour ; 
To many a wild despairing mood ye gave 

Some help to heal or save. 
And sang to heavenlier trances, long and long, 

Your world-old undersong. 
Now therefore, if ye may, one moment show 

One look of long ago ; 

M. lO 


Create from waving sprays and tender dew 

Her soft fair form anew ; 
From deepening azure of these August skies 

Relume her ardent eyes ! 
Or if there may not from your sunht aisle 

Be born one flying smile, — 
In all your multitudinous music heard 

One whisper of one word, — 
Then wrap me, forest, with thy blowing breath 

In sleep, in peace, in death ; 
Bear me, swift stream, with immemorial stir. 

To love, to God, to her. 


Great dragon-flies in blazing blue 
Across the shimmering river flew ; 
A dreamy fount of carol played 
Thro' calm and ripple, shine and shade. 

And all was joyous, all was fair, 
Because the golden girl was there ; 
Her loving eyes illumed that day 
The pine-clad winding waterway. 

Until it seemed that charmed erelong 
By incantation of her song 
The broadening deep would flood and flow 
From heights of Himalayan snow: — 

lo — 2 


Her face, in that enchanted hour, 
Among the lotos-flowers a flower. 
Her whisper mingling, tale for tale, 
With roses in the Orient vale. 

Then bloomy palms would wave and shed 

Their magic slumber overhead, 

And Ganges' everlasting stream 

Sigh thro' the hushed and holy dream. 


'Have other lovers, — say, my love, — 

Loved thus before to-day ? ' — 
' They may have, yes ! they may, my love ; 

Not long ago they may.' 

' But though they worshipped thee, my love, 
Thy maiden heart was free.-" — 

' Don't ask too much of me, my love ; 
Don't ask too much of me ! ' 

'Yet now 'tis you and I, my love, 
Love's wings no more will fly .' ' — 

' If Love could never die, my love, 
Our love should never die.' 


' For shame ! and is this so, my love, 
And Love and I must go ? ' — 

' Indeed I do not know, my love ; 
My life, I do not know.' 

'You will, you must be true, my love. 
Nor look and love anew ! ' — 

' r 11 see what I can do, my love ; 
I'll see what I can do.' 


" Do you remember, darling, 

The mocking words you said, — 
And snapt with fairy fingers 

And shook your naughty head ? 
And have you thought it over yet ? 

And will my child be true ? 
And has she loved me long enough 

To know what she can do ? " — 


" Oh I remember noihing, 

Nor mocking words nor true, — 
For I remember nothing 

But you, but you, but you ! 
Forget the men that wooed me, — 

I hate them, — let them go ; — 
Forget the song I sang to you 

That day I ' did not know ' ! 

" Ah ! not like this they wooed me, — 

'Twas gamesome girl and boy; — 
Sometimes I half was willing 

And often I was coy : 
And this I took for love, dear, — 

So little then I knew ! 
But now I smile to think I thought 

Of any love but you. 


" For this is quite a strange thing, 

With this I cannot play ; 
At a single look of yours, dear, 

My spirit melts away ; 
And body and soul are yours, dear, 

I am you, I am not I, 
And if you go I'll follow you. 

And if you change, I'll die." — 


" I've seen in a king's cabinet 

Full many a carven toy ; 
And Life the Psyche-butterfly 

And Love the running boy ; 
And Life the altar odorous 

And Love the kindling flame, 
And Life the lion amorous 

Which Love was come to tame. 



But we from sard and sardonyx 

Must grave us gems anew, 
If we would have the legend 

Tell truth for me and you ! 
For Love has caught the butterfly, 

And Love has lit the fire, 
And Love has led invincibly 

His lion with the lyre." 


'Oh never kiss me; stand apart; 

My darling, come not near ! 
Be dear for ever to my heart. 

But be not over-dear!' 

And while she spake her cheek was flame, 

Her look was soft and wild ; 
But when I kissed her, she became 

No stronger than a child. — 

Ah, love, what wilt thou then apart? 

Thy home is thus and here, — 
For ever dearer to my heart, 

And never over-dear. 


In silence slept the mossy ground, 

Forgetting bird and breeze ; 
In towering silence slept around 

The Spanish chestnut-trees ; 
Their trailing blossom, feathery-fair, 
Made heavy sweetness in the air. 

All night she pondered, long and long, 

Alone with lake and lawn ; 
She heard a soft untimely song, 

But slept before the dawn : 
When eyes no more can wake and weep, 
A pensive wisdom comes with sleep. 


" O love," she said, " O man of men, 

O passionate and true ! 
Not once in all the years again 

As once we did we do ; 
What need the dreadful end to tell ? 
We know it and we knew it well." 

" O love," she said, " O king of kings, 

My master and my joy. 
Are we too young for bitter things 

Who still are girl and boy ? 
Too young we won, we cherish yet 
That dolorous treasure of regret." 

Then while so late the heavens delayed 

Their solemn trance to break. 
Her sad desiring eyes were stayed 

Beyond the lucid lake ; 
She saw the grey-blue mountains stand, 
Great guardians of the charmed land. 


Above her brows she wove and wound 

Her gold hellenic hair; 
She stood like one whom kings have crowned 

And God has fashioned fair ; — 
So sweet on wakened eyes will gleam 
The flying phantom of a dream. 

Or so, inarched in veiling vine, 

The Syran priestess sees 
Those amethystine straits enshrine 

The sleeping Cyclades ; 
For Delos' height is purple still. 
The old unshaken holy hill. 

" O love," she said, " tho' sin be sin. 

And woe be bitter woe, 
Short-lived the hearts they house within, 

And they like those will go ; — 
The primal Beauty, first and fair, 
Is evermore and everywhere. 


"And when the faint and fading star 

In early skies is sweet, 
In silence thither from afar 

Thy heart and mine shall meet ; 
Deep seas our winged desire shall know, 
And lovely summer, lovely snow. 

"And whensoever bards shall sing — 

However saints shall pray— 
Whatever sweet and happy thing 

The painter brings to day, — 
Their heavenly souls in heaven shall be, 
And thou with these, and I with thee. 

"And God," — she said, and hushed a while, 

"And God," but, half begun, 

Thro' tears serener than a smile. 

Her song beheld the sun :— 
When souls no more can dream and pray, 
Celestial hope will dawn with day. 



O Nora knew it, Nora knows 
How Love lies hidden in a rose, 
And touches mingle, touches part 
The trembling flames of heart and heart. 

Thrice happy ! to have learnt that day 
Her virginal bewitching way, 
So airy-soft, so winning-wild, 
Between the siren and the child. 

O Nature's darling, pure and fair 
From light foot to irradiant hair ! 
O Nora, Nora, bright and sweet 
From clear brow to impetuous feet ! 

NORA. i6i 

So glimmered wood and wave between 
The starry presence of Undine, 
In that first hour her bosom knew 
What human hearts are born unto ; — 

For half-enchanted, half-afraid, 
The nymph became a mortal maid ; 
A dewy light, a dear surprise. 
Illumed her visionary eyes. 

Then from their deeps a Spirit came ; — 
Undine was other and the same ; — 
For past resisting, past control, 
Was very Love her very soul. 

■ II. 

Last year, where mixed with many a rose 

The gold laburnums wave, 
A crimson rosebud Nora chose, 

A bud my Nora gave. 

M. II 

i62 NORA. 

And when the enchanting month anew 
Revived the summer's boon, 

And bright again the roses blew, 
And all was joy and June, 

A fair twin-bud for my delight 
She from its cluster parts ; — 

Here are the petals, red and white, 
Shaped like two sister hearts. 

And now because the maid is dear 
And ways between us long, — 

l^ecause I cannot call her here 
With sighing or with song, — 

Across the ocean, swift and soon, 

This faded petal goes, 
To her who is herself as June, 

And lovely, and a rose. 


Though words of ice be spoken 

And tears of fire be shed, 
It seems Love's heart is broken, 

And yet he is not dead : 
Whate'er the wild voice utters 

He breathes a still reply ; 
A bird he is ; he flutters 

And yet can never fly. 

Unchecked he came, unbidden ; 

Unnamed, unknown, he grew ; 
He wove, unsought, unchidden, 

His old, old charm anew ; 
And now, though tears upbraid him, 

He smiles and has his way ; 
A god he is ! we made him. 

And yet we cannot slay. 

II — 2 


O PAINTER, match an English bloom, 
And give the head an English air. 

Then with great grey-blue stars illume 
That face pathetically fair. 

As though some sweet child, dowered at will 
With all the wisdom years could send. 

Looked up and, like a baby still, 
Became thine equal and thy friend ; 

And kept the childly curves, and grew 
To woman's shape in wondrous wise. 

And with soft passion filled anew 
The sea-like sapphire of her eyes. 


Look on her, painter ; is there aught 
Of well- beloved that is not here? 

Could chance or art be guessed or taught 
To make the lovely child more dear? 

1 66 

When summer even softly dies, 
When summer winds are free, 
A thousand lamps, a thousand eyes, 

Shall glimmer in the sea : 
O look how large, behind, below, 
The lucid creatures glance and glow ! 
They strew with soft and fiery foam 
Her streaming way from home to home. 

So shines the deep, but high above, 

Beyond the cloudy bars. 
The old infinity of love 

Looks silent from the stars : — 


When parted friends no more avail 
Those sleepless watchers shall not fail, 
They learn her looks, they list her sighs. 
They love her soft beseeching eyes. 

Then in the woman's heart is born 

The child's delight anew, 
The Highland glory of the morn, 

The rowans bright with dew; 
She hears the flooding stream that falls 
By those ancestral castle-walls. 
Her father's woods are tossing free 
Between her and the southern sea. 

Or lovely in a lovely place 

One ofifers as she stands 
Sister to sister sweet embrace 

And hospitable hands ; 
White-robed as once in happy hours 
She stood a rose among the flowers, 
And heart to heart would speak and tell 
The reason why we loved her well. 

1 68 

So in a dream the nights go by, 

So in a dream the days, 
Till, when the good ship knows anigh 

The Asian waterways. 
From home to home her love shall set 
And hope be stronger than regret. 
And rest renew and prayer control 
Her sweet unblemishable soul. 

The waves subside ; she stems at last 

That Hellespontine stream ; 
Her ocean-dreams are overpast, — 

Or is this too a dream ? 
For child and husband, fast and fain. 
Have clasped her in their arms again : — 
.Let only mothers murmur this, 
How babe and mother clasp and kiss. 


Beautiful darling! 

Light of mine eyes ! 
Gay as the starling 

Shoots thro' the skies ; 

Swift as the swallow, and 

Soft as the dove ; 
Hopeless to follow, and 

Maddening to love ! 

Ah when she dances ! and 
Ah when she sings ! 

Glamour of glances, and 
Rush as of wings,— 


Trill as of coming birds 
Heard unaware, — 

Poise as of humming-birds 
Hanging in air ! 

Starriest, youthfullest 

Flower of a face ! 
Who shall the truthfullest 

Tell thee thy grace ? 

They comprehend it not, 
Tltey cannot know ; — 

Use it not, spend it not, 
Spoil it not so ! 

While the world calls to thee 

I sit apart, 
I from the stalls to thee 

Fling thee my heart ! 


Bright eyes to measure it ! 

Small hands to hold ! 
Take it and treasure it ! 

Lo, it is gold ! 

Stage-plays have ending, and 

Love's ever new ! 
Stage-love's pretending, and 

Now for the true ! 

Fame's voice be dumb to thee ! 

Fame's banner furled ! 
Come with me, come to the 

End of the world ! 


Iri, decus coeli, quis te mihi nubibus actam ? — 

I. The School. 

With mantling cheek, with palpitating breast, 
See the sweet novice glide among the rest! 
O see her from those timorous shoulders fair 
Fling back the tossing torrent of her hair ! 
See half diaphanous and half displayed 
The shy limbs gleam, the magic of the maid ! 
Nor at first seeing wouldst thou deem it true 
Such fairy feet such daring deeds could do, 
Or Art inborn the maiden shame dispel 


From those sweet eyes, that aspect lovable ; — 
Yet little by little, as in her ears begin 
The thrill and scream of flute and violin, — 
O little by little and in a wondrous way 
The hid soul hearkens and the limbs obey ;— 
As though the starry nature, quenched and hid 
Between things impotent and things forbid. 
Found thus an air and thus a passion, thus 
Were crowned and culminant and amorous. 
And dared the best and did it, and became 
Vocal, a flying and irradiant flame. 

Thus when the Pythian maid no more can bear 
The god intolerable and thundering air. 
Nor shifting colour and heaving heart contain 
Longer the quenchless prophesying pain, — 
The more she strives from out her breast to throw 
The indwelling monarch of the lute and bow, 
The more, the more will mastering Phoebus tire 
Her proud lips frenetic and eyes of fire. 
Till last, in Delphic measure, Delphic tone, 
Bows the wild head, and speaks, and is his own. 


II. The Stage. 

Then flame on flame the immense proscaenium 

With magic counterchange of gold and rose, 
Then roar on roar, undying and again. 
Crash the great bars of that prodigious strain, — 
Fire flashed on fire and sound on thunder hurled 
Bear from their midst the Wonder of the World. 
Lightly she comes, as though no weight she 

The very daughter and delight of air, — 
Lightly she comes, preluding, lightly starts 
The breathless rapture to a thousand hearts, 
The high flutes hush to meet her, and the drum 
Thro' all his deep self trembles till she come : — 
Then with a rush, as though the notes had known 
After long hope their empress and their own, 
She and the music bound, and high and free 
Thro' light and air the music leaps and she : — 


So bright, so coruscating, Iris so 

Slides the long arch of her effulgent bow ; 

Rose in her wake and azure on her way 

A thousand tints bedew the Olympian day ; — 

She touches earth, and all those hues are one, 

And her unbent bow springs into the sun. 


I SAW, I saw the lovely child, 

I watched her by the way, 
I learnt her gestures sweet and wild, 

Her loving eyes and gay. 

Her name ? — I heard not, nay, nor care,- 

Enough it was for me 
To find her innocently fair 

And delicately free. 

Oh cease and go ere dreams be done, 

Nor trace the angel's birth, 
Nor find the Paradisal one 

A blossom of the earth ! 


Thus is it with our subtlest joys, — 
How quick the soul's alarm ! 

How lightly deed or word destroys 
That evanescent charm ! 

It comes unbidden, comes unbought, 

Unfettered flees away, — 
His swiftest and his sweetest thought 

Can never poet say. 

M. 12 


All-golden is her virgin head, 

Her cheek a bloomy rose, 
Carnation-bright the fluttering red 

That o'er it softly flows. 
But neither gem nor floweret vies 
With that clear wonder of her eyes. 

But twice hath hue like theirs been given 

To be beheld of me, 
And once 'twas in the twilight heaven. 

Once in the summer sea ; 
A yearning gladness thence was born, 
A dream delightful and forlorn. 


For once in heaven a single star 

Lay in a light unknown, — 
A tender tint, more lucid far 

Than all that eve had shown, — 
It seemed between the gold and grey 
The far dawn of a faery day. 

And once where ocean's depth divine 

O'er silvern sands was hung, 
Gleamed in the half-lit hyaline 

The hope no song has sung, — 
The memory of a world more fair 
Than all our blazing wealth of air. 

For dear though earthly days may flow, 

Our dream iS dearer yet ; — 
How little is the life we know 

To life that we forget ! — 
Till in a maiden's eyes we see 
What once hath been, what still shall be. 



I THANK thee, dear, for words that fleet. 

For looks that long endure, 
For all caresses simply sweet 

And passionately pure; 

For blushes mutely understood, 

For silence and for sighs, 
For all the yearning womanhood 

Of grey love-laden eyes. 

Oh how in words to tell the rest.? 

My bird, my child, my dove ! 
Behold I render best for best, 

I bring thee love for love. 


Oh give to God the love again 
Which had from him its birth, — 

Oh bless him, for he sent the twain 
Together on the earth. 


' O SEEK not with untimely art 
To ope the bud before it blows, 

Bewitching from the folded heart 
Reluctant petals of the rose! 

Too quickly cherished, quickly dear, 
She came, the graceful child and gay,- 

O leave her in her early year 
Till April crimson into May ! 

The golden sun shall glance and go, 
Shall rest and tremble in her hair ; 

Beside her cheek shall love to blow 
The soft and kindly English air; — 


O leave her glad with such caress, 
In such embraces clasped and free, 

Nor teach thy hasty heart to guess 
The woman and the love to be.' 

Thus with myself my thoughts complain, 
And so by night shall I be wise, 

Till on my heart arise again 
Her open and illumined eyes. 

A moment then the past prevails 
And in the man is manhood strong, 

Then from the bruised soul exhales 

The sweet and quivering flame of song. 

Oh if indeed with time and tide 
Too fast the changeful seasons flow. 

And loving life from life divide 

And shape and sunder as they go, — 


Yet with what airy bonds I may 
Her flying soul shall I retain, 

And sometimes, dreaming in the day, 
Shall see her, as she smiled, again :- 

A girlish joy shall haunt the spot, 
A presence shall illume the shade, 

And unembraced and unforgot 
Shall rise the vision of a maid. 


Why should I strive to express it? 

What should I care ? 
Ye will not know nor confess it 

How she \yas fair. 
Fades the song ere I begin it, 

Falters and dies : — 
Ah ! had you seen her a minute, — 

Looked in her eyes ! 

When she and I shall be lying 

Dust at your feet, 
Hours such as these shall be flying, 

Life be as sweet, — 
Women as lovely hereafter, 

Tender and wise, 
Born with her bloom and her laughter,- 

Not with her eyes ! 


Once, and beyond recollection, 

Once, ere the skies were unfurled, 
These an immortal affection 

Found at the birth of the world. 
Earth was not yet, nor the golden 

Vault of the dawn and the dew; 
These in a home unbeholden 

Loved and were true. 

Heard ye how each from the other 

Drank interchangeable life .' 
Call ye them sister or brother, 

Husband, or lover, or wife .' 
Names of an earthly affection 

Are not so close or so dear ; 
Spirits beyond recollection 

Loved, and are here. 


The pouring music, soft and strong, 
Some God within her soul has ht, 

Her face is rosy with the song 
And her grey eyes are sweet with it. 

A woman so with singing fired, 

Has earth a lovelier sight than this ? 

Oh he that looked had soon desired 
Those lips to fasten with a kiss. 

But let not him that race begin 
Who seeks not toward its utmost goal ; 

Give me an hour for drinking in 
Her fragrant and her early soul. 


Tb happier hearts I leave the rest, 
Who less and more than I shall know, 

For me, world-weary, it is best 
To listen for an hour and go: 

To lift her hand, and press, and part, 
And think upon her long and long, 

And bear for ever in my heart 
The tender traces of a song. 


A MAN and woman together, a man and woman 

In the stress of the soul's worst weather, the 

anchorless ebb of the heart, 
They can say to each other no longer, as lovers 

were wont to say, 
' Death is strong, but Love is stronger ; there is 

night and then there is day'; 
Their souls can whisper no more, ' There is better 

than sleep in the sod. 
We await the ineffable shore, and between us 

two there is God ': 


Nay now without hope or dream must true friend 

sever from friend, 
With the long years worse than they seem, and 

nothingness black at the end : 
And the darkness of death is upon her, the light 

of his eyes is dim, 
But Honour has spoken, Honour, enough for her 

and for him. 

Oh what shall he do with the vision, when deep 
in the night it comes, 

With soul and body's division, with tremor of 
dreamland drums; 

When his heart is broken and tender, and his 
whole soul rises and cries 

For the soft waist swaying and slender, the child- 
like passionate eyes .'' 

Or where shall she turn to deliver her life from 
the longing unrest, 

When sweet sleep flies with a shiver, and her 
heart is alone in her breast } 

HONOUR. 191 

It is hard, it is cruel upon her, her soft eyes 

glow and are dim, 
But Honour has spoken, Honour, enough for her 

and for him. 

I had guessed not^ did I not know, that the spirit 

of man was so strong 
To prefer irredeemable woe to the slightest sha- 
dow of wrong ; 
I had guessed not, had I not known, that twain 

in their last emprize, 
FuU-souled, and awake, and alone, with the whole 

world's love in their eyes, 
With no faith in God to appal them, no fear of 

man in their breast. 
With nothing but Honour to call them, could yet 

find Honour the best, — 
Could stay the stream of the river and turn the 

tides of the sea. 
Give back that gift to the giver, thine heart to 

the bosom of thee. 


O SUDDEN heaven ! superb surprise ! 

O day to dream again ! 
O Spanish eyebrows, Spanish eyes, 

Voice and allures of Spain ! 

No answering glance her glances seek. 
Her smile no suitor knows ; 

That lucid pallor of her cheek 
Is lovelier than the rose ; — 

But when she wakens, when she stirs. 

And life and love begin, 
How blaze those amorous eyes of hers, 

And what a god within ! 

ELODIA. 193 

I watched her heart's arising strife, 

Half eager, half afraid ; 
I paused ; I would not wake to life 

The tinted marble maid. 

But starlike through my dreams shall go, 

Pale, with a fiery train, 
The Spanish glory, Spanish glow, 

The passion which is Spain. 

M.. 13 


O SCARLET berries sunny-bright ! 

O lake alone and fair ! 
O castle roaring in the night 

With blown Bohemian air ! 
O spirit-haunted forest, tell 
The hidden heart of Gabrielle ! 

Ah, the superb and virgin face ! 

Ah once again to see 
Transparent thro' the Austrian grace 

The English purity ! 
To hear the English speech that fell 
So soft and sweet from Gabrielle ! 


So best, but if it be not so 

Yet am I well content 
To think that all things yonder grow 

Stately and innocent; 
To dream of woods that whisper well, 
And light, and peace, and Gabrielle. 



' Oh hush,' I cried, ' that thrilling voice, 
That shepherd's plaint no more prolong, 

Nor bid those happy loves rejoice 
Thro' feigned rusticities of song ! 

Too soft a passion through thee sings, 
Too yearning-sweet the phrases flow ; 

Too deep that music strikes, and brings 
The tears of long ago. 


• Ah ! let me keep my frozen peace. 
Forget with years the ardent boy, 

And face the waking world, and cease 
To dream of passion, dream of joy ! 

And yet this heart how strangely yearned ! 
How seemed the dream more true than day ! 

What flame was that which through me burned. 
And burns, and fades away ? ' 

But she, whose young blood softly stirred 
Had bid the unconscious maiden sing, 

Heart-whole, and simply as a bird 
That feels the onset of the spring, — 

She from mine eyes their secret drew, 
Learnt from my lips the lover's tone, 

And in my soul's confusion knew 
The impulse of her own. 


Who is herself my vision's truth, 

Herself my heart's unknown desire, 
Herself the hope that led my youth 

With counterchange of cloud and fire ;- 
Then let her sing as Love has willed 

Of mimic loves that die in air,— 
A deeper strain my soul has filled, 
Herself the music there. 



The poem opens with a recurrence to previous expressions of unrest 
and baffled inquiry into the problems of the unseen world (1—23). 
It is intimated that the present reflections are made from a point of 
view which gives their author a subjective satisfaction, though he 
expressly disclaims the power of conducting other minds to the same 
point (23 — 32). Since, however, many persons have attained, by 
various pathways, to some form of faith or peace, it is thought that 
they may be interested in a sketch of some of the feelings to which 
an assured hope of immortality gives rise (33 — 56). One of the 
simplest of such feelings is the impulse of enterprise and curiosity 
evoked by the hope of being ultimately able to explore the mysteries 
of the starry heavens (57 — 80). Yet it is plain that such investiga- 
tions, — which may be carried to an inconceivable point even by men 
still living on our planet, — can afford no real insight into a spiritual 
world (81 — 92). The universe, as spiritually conceived, can be 
apprehended only by the development and elevation of the soul 
herself (93 — 106). Such spiritual apprehension may Indeed be 
plausibly derided as imaginary, and compared to the search for San 
Borondon, — the Aprositus or ' Unapproachable Island ' of Ptolemy, 
— which under certain atmospheric conditions is still apparently 
visible from the Peak of Teneriffe, but which consists in reality of a 


bank of vapour (107 — 126). In reply to this, the difficulty of ad- 
vancing adequate credentials for any announcement of spiritual dis- 
covery is fully admitted, but the analogy of the quest of San Borondon 
is met with the case of Columbus, who, starting himself also from the 
Canaries on an adventure in vifhich few sympathized, discovered a real 
country (127 — 142). Men, however, who suppose themselves to 
discern spiritual verities must fully acquiesce in being considered 
dreamers(i43 — 158). They do not look, in fact, for popular applause, 
but draw a peculiar delight from the interpenetration of the common 
scenes of life by their far-reaching memories, meditations, and hopes 
(159 — 202). Among these meditations the question of repeated exist- 
ence on this planet, whether before or after our present life, naturally 
occurs (203 — 214). However this may be, death must be regarded 
as a deliverance, and life on earth as a tumult of sensations through 
which the main current of our spiritual being should run untroubled 
and strong, like a river through a clamorous city, or like Aeneas 
marching through the phantoms of the under- world (215 — 252). No 
exemption, indeed, can be promised from sorrow ; but under the 
influence of these great hopes sorrow will be divested of its former 
bitterness, and felt to be directly educative (253 — 280). Nor, 
assuredly, could any conception of a future life be satisfactory which 
did not involve perpetual effort and consequent advance, — an 
advance whose ultimate goal seems to lie largely in an increased 
power of spiritually helping other souls (281 — 296). It need not be 
presumptuous to aspire to such developments, however remote from 
man's present insignificance, since the longest periods which astro- 
nomy can measure need bring no cessation to the upward efforts of 
the soul (297 — 308). In view of such high possibilities, a stern and 
thorough spiritual training is to be desired (309 — 3'8). A frequent 
experience shows that the stimulating influence of sorrows endured 
in common, or even of the separation of death, is usually needed to 
raise human love to the highest development of which earth admits 
(319 — 336). In like manner, all surrounding circumstances, of 
whatever kind, should be used as means of self-improvement. If 
they be uncongenial, they may be made to give stoical strength 


(337 — 344)' And, on the other hand, artistic and emotional enjoy- 
ment, instead of alluring the soul earthwards, may stimulate her 
progress by suggesting the loftier delights to which she may in 
time rise (345 — 360). Art, indeed, in all its manifestations, seems 
directly to suggest an ideal world (361 — 364). This is true of 
Poetry (365 — 378), and of Painting, — as Tintoret's 'Paradise' may 
serve to indicate (379 — 400). With Music this is markedly the 
case ; for although, as in operas of Mozart's, Music gives full voice 
to human love, she also (especially in the hands of Beethoven) 
creates the impression that she is perpetually overpassing the range 
of definable, or even of mundane, emotion (401 — 418). Nor does 
this impression seem referable to any purely subjective element in 
composer or auditor (419 — 430). It may rather be conceived as the 
necessary result of the position of Music as a representative of the 
laws and emotions of a supersensual world (431 — 446). Such Love, 
moreover, as can be experienced on earth is felt at its highest 
moments to be only an earnest of what may exist elsewhere {447 — 
458). Nay, even if already felt as complete and satisfying, it must 
not limit its outlook to this life alone (459 — 470). Yet, on the 
other hand, the love felt on earth is truly sacred and permanent, 
and, as we may believe, will never be forgotten by the soul at any 
stage of advance (471 — 498). Finally, it is by maintaining life and 
love at a high degree of energy that we may hope to penetrate ever 
nearer to the central and divine life (499 — 518). And in the 
profound peace which even on earth may accompany this sense of 
progressive union with the divine, all personal fear and sorrow, — 
nay even the anguish of desolating bereavement, — may disappear in 
a childlike faith (519 — 548). 


' Ah, could the soul, from all earth's loves set free, 
Plunge once for all and sink them in the sea ! 
Then naked thence, re-risen and reborn. 
Shine in the gold of some tempestuous morn. 
With one at last to lead her, one to say — 
Come hither, hither is thy warlike way ! — 
Oh that air's deep were thronged from heaven to hell 
With shadowy shapes of barque and caravel, 
On rays of sunset and on storms that roll 
Swept to a last Trafalgar of the soul ! ' lo 

Ah mc ! how oft have such wild words confessed 
The impetuous urgence of a fierce unrest, 


When all the embracing earth, the inarching blut, 
Seemed the soul's cage no wings might battle 

And Faith was dumb, or all her voices vain, 
Against the incumbent night, the baffling pain ; — 
Dumb, till some mastering call, with broadened 

Should ring the evangel of authentic hope, — 
Show the strong soul, aroused, alive, afar, 
From death's pale peace delivered into war, — 20 
Bid Life live on, nor Love disdain to sing 
Mid fading boughs his anthems of the spring. 

Nathless, my soul, if thou perchance hast heard, 
I say not whence, some clear disposing word,^ 
If on thy gaze has oped, I say not where. 
Brighter than day the light that was thy prayer, — 
Thereon keep silence ; who of men will heed 
That secret which to thee is life indeed ? 
For if thou sing of woes and wandering, then 
Plain tale is thine, and words well-known to men ; 30 


But if of hope and peace, then each alone 
Must find that peace by pathways of his own. 

Yet many are there who some glimpse have seen 
From this world's cave of waters wide and green, 
Who have striven as strive they might, and found 

their rest 
Each in such faith as for each soul is best ; — 
To such thy message lies, nor needs inquire 
What path has led them there where they desire ; — 
If in sweet trance it hath to some been given 
To stand unharmed in the outmost porch of 

heaven, — 4° 

To have seen the flamy spires of mounting prayer, 
Crowns of election hanging in the air, 
And guardian souls, and whatso waits to bless 
Man all unknowing in all his loneliness ; — 
Or if the Father for their need have sent 
No separate call nor strange admonishment. 
Only such hopes as in the spirit spring 
With a new calm that brooks not questioning. 


Such loves as lift the ennobled life away 
From earth and baseness thro' their native day, 50 
Such faith as shines, far-off and undefiled. 
Guessed in the glad eyes of a stainless child. 

For such as these find thou, my heart, a voice 
With souls rejoicing gravely to rejoice. 
For souls at peace obscurely to express 
Gleams of the light which cheers their steadfastness. 

Ah me, how oft shall morn's pellucid ray 
Stir the high heart for the unknown wondrous way ! 
How oft shall evening's slant and crimson fire 
Immix the earthly and divine desire ! 60 

What yearning falls from twilight's shadowy dome 
For the unchanged city and the abiding home ! 

Yet chiefliest when alone the watcher sees 
Thro' the clear void the sparkling Pleiades, 
Or marks from the underworld Orion bring 
His arms all gold, and night encompassing, — 
With night's cold scent upon his soul is borne 
Firewise a mystic longing and forlorn 


To strike one stroke and in a moment know 
Those hanging Pleiads, why they cluster so ; — 70 
Thro' night to God to feel his flight begun, 
And see this sun a star, that star a sun. 

How might one watch the inwoven battalions 

sweep,' — 
A dance of atoms, — drifting in the deep ! 
Ah, to what goal — firm-fixed or flying far — 
Drives yon unhurrying undelaying star ? 
Thro' space, if space it be, past count or ken, — 
Thro' time, if that be time, not marked of men, — 
From what beginning, what fire-fountain hurled 
Burst the bright streams, and every spark a 

world ? 80 

And yet, methinks, men still to be might learn 
Whatever eye can fathom, sense discern, 
Might note the ether's whirl, the atom's play. 
The thousand secrets thronging on the ray, — 
Till for that knowledge' sake they scarce could bear 
Veilless the tingling incidence of air; — 


And yet no nigher for all their wisdom grew 
To the old world's life, and pulse that beats 

While round them still, with every hour that rolls, 
Swept some unnoted populace of souls, — 90 

Undreamt-of lay, as ere earth's life began. 
The open secret and the end of man. 

O living Love, that art all lives in one ! 
Soul of all suns, and of all souls the sun ! 
Earth, that to chosen eyes canst still display 
The untarnished glory of thy primal day; — 
Blue deep of Heaven, for purged sight opening 

Beyond the extreme abysm and smallest star ; — 
By subtler sense must those that know thee know ; 
Thy secret enters with a larger flow; 100 

On her own deeps must the soul's gaze begin 
And her whole Cosmos lighten from within, — 
Showing what once hath been, what aye must be, 
Her Cause at once and End, her Source and Sea,^ — 


Felt deeplier still, as still she soars the higher, 
Her inmost Being, her unfulfilled Desire. 

'Ah dreamers!' some will say, 'whose wildered 
Shapes in the mist a Hope denied to men ! 
Too happy ! hard to find and hard to keep 
Such mythic haven in the guideless deep! no 
Ye think ye find ; and men there are who thus 
Themselves the enchanted isle Aprositus 
Have seen from Teneriffe ; to them was known 
The eastward shadow of its phantasmal cone. 
And the blue promontory, and vale that fills 
That interspace of visionary hills ; — 
They saw them plain ; yet all the while they wist 
That San Borondon is but of the mist. 
And such bold sailors as have thither prest 
Come bootless back from the unrewarding quest ; 120 
Or if, they say, they touch it, they are driven 
Far forth by all the angered winds of heaven, 
And nevermore win thither, nevermore 


Tread with firm feet tiiat legendary shore, 
Retrack the confluent billows, or survey 
From poop or prow the innavigable way.' 

Must then all quests be nought, all voyage vain, 
All hopes the illusion of the whirling brain .' 
Or are there eyes beyond earth's veil that see. 
Dreamers made strong to dream what is to be.' 130 
How should such prophet answer that his faith 
Were in firm land and not a floating wraith .■• 
What skill should judge him.' who to each assign 
The secret calling and the sight divine ? 

Say, by what grace was to Columbus given 
To have pierced the unanswering verge of seas 

and heaven, 
To have wrung from winds that screamed and 

storms that fled 
Their wilder voice than voices of the dead ; 
Left the dear isles by Zephyr overblown, 
Hierro's haven and Teyde's towering cone, 140 

M. 14 


And forth, with all airs willing and all ways new, 
Sailed, till the blue Peak melted in the blue ? 

And these too, these whose visionary gaze 
Haunts not those weltering crimsoned waterways. 
Whose dream is not of summer and shining seas, 
Ind, and the East, and lost Atlantides ; — 
Who are set wholly and of one will to win 
Kingdoms the spirit knows but from within, — 
Whose eyes discern that glory glimmering through 
The old earth and heavens that scarcely veil the 

new ; — 150 

Let them* say plainly; 'Nay, we know not well 
What words shall prove the tale we have to 

Either we cannot or we hardly dare 
Breathe forth that vision into earthly air ; 
And if ye call us dreamers, dreamers then 
Be we esteemed amid you waking men ; 
Hear us or hear not as ye choose ; but we 
Speak as we can, and are what we must be.' 


Nor much, in very sooth, shall these men need 
The world's applausive smile or answering meed; 160 
Whose impulse was not of themselves, nor came 
With Phoebus' call and whispering touch of Fame, 
But for no worth of theirs, and past their will. 
Fell like the lightning on the naked hill. 

To them the aspects of the heavens recall 
Those strange and hurrying hours that were their 

For to one heart her bliss came unaware 
Under white cloudlets in a morning air ; 
Another mid the thundering tempest knew 
Peace, and a wind that where it listed blew; 170 
And oped the heaven of heavens one soul before 
In life's mid crash and London's whirling roar; — 
Ay, and transfigured in the dream divine 
The thronged precinct of Park and Serpentine, 
Till horse and rider were as shades that rode 
From an unknown to an unknown abode. 
And that grey mere, in mist that clung and curled. 
Lay like a water of the spirit-world. 

14 — 2 


Or long will one in a great garden stray 
Thro' sunlit hours of visionary day, i8o 

Till, in himself his spirit deepening far, 
The things that are not be the things that are. 
And all the scarlet flowers and tossing green 
Seem the bright ghosts of what elsewhere hath been. 
And the sun's gold phantasmal, ay, and he 
A slumbering phantom who has yet to be. 

Or one from Plato's page uplifts his head. 
Dazed in that mastering parley of the dead, 
Till at dark curfew thro' the latticed gloom 
What presence feels he in his lonely room, 190 
Where mid the writ words of the wise he stands 
Like a strange ghost in many-peopled lands, 
Or issuing in some columned cloister, sees 
Thro' the barred squares the moon-enchanted 

trees ; 
Till, when his slow resounding steps have made 
One silence with their echoes and the shade. 
How can he tell if for the first time then 
He paces thus those haunts of musing men, 


Or once already, or often long ago, 
In other lives he hath known them and shall 
know, 200 

And re-incarnate, unremembering, tread 
In the old same footsteps of himself long dead ? 

Ay, yet maybe must many an age have past 
Ere on this old earth thou have looked thy last; 
Oft shall again thy child-eyes opening see 
A strange scene brought by flashes back to thee ; 
Full oft youth's fire shall leap thy veins within, 
And many a passion stir thee, many a sin, 
And many a spirit as yet unborn entwine 
Love unimagined with new lives of thine, 210 
Ere yet thou pass, with thy last form's last breath. 
Through some irremeable gate of death. 
And earth, with all her life, with all her lore, 
Whirl on, of thee unseen for evermore. 

Ah, welcome then that hour which bids thee lie 
In anguish of thy last infirmity ! 


Welcome the toss for ease, the gasp for air, 
The visage drawn, and Hippocratic stare; 
Welcome the darkening dream, the lost control, 
The sleep, the swoon, the arousal of the soul ! 220 

Stayed on such hope, what hinders thee to live 
Meanwhile as they that less receive than give ? 
Short time thou tarriest ; wherefore shouldst thou 

Envy, or fear, or vex thyself with men ? 
Only care thou that strong thy life and free 
Inward and onward sweep into the sea ; 
That mid earth's dizzying pains thou quit thee well. 
Whose worst is now, nor waits a darker hell. 

So, — round his path their lair tho' Centaurs made. 
Harpies, and Gorgons, and a Threefold Shade, — 230 
Yet strove the Trojan on, nor cared to stay 
For shapes phantasmal flown about his way; 
But with sword sheathed in scorn, and heart 

With the one following of the one behest, 


Beheld at last that folk Elysian, where 
Their own sun gilds their own profounder air, — 
Found the wise Sire, and in the secret vale 
Heard and returned an unambiguous tale. 

Or so this ancient stream thro' London flows, 
Her tumult round him gathering as he goes; 240 
All day he bears the traffic, hears the strife, 
Reflects the pageant of that changeful life ; 
Then day declines ; men's hurrying deeds are done ; 
Falls the deep night, and all their fates are one; 
Their hopes, their fears, a truce imperious keep ; 
Sorrows and joys are stilled at last to sleep; 
From dark to dark the dim-lit river rolls, 
A silent highway thro' that place of souls ; 
As if he only of all their myriads knew 
What sea unseen all streams are travelling to, i=.o 
And on swirled eddy and silent onset bare- 
That city's being between a dream and prayer. 

Ay, thou shalt mourn, my friend, yet not as when 
Thou hadst fain been blotted from the roll of men, 


Fain that what night begat thee and what day bare 
Might sweep to nothing in the abyss of air, 
And the earth engulf and the ocean overflow 
Thy stinging shame, the wildness of thy woe. 
For now thine anguish suddenly oft shall cease. 
Caught in the flow of thy perpetual peace, 260 
Nor aught shall greatly trouble or long dismay 
Thy soul forth-faring thro' the inward day, — 
Strong in that sight, and fashioned to sustain 
Gladly the purging sacrament of pain ; — 
Ay, to thank God, who in his heightening plan 
Hath chosen to show thee the full fate of man; — 
Who not in peace alone hath bid thee go, 
But thro' gross darkness, and a wildering woe ; 
With all his storms hath vext thee, and opprest 
With wild despair thy lonely and labouring 
breast; 370 

Till there hath somewhat grown in thee so strong 
That neither force nor fear nor woe nor wrong 
Can check that inward onset, or can still 
Thy heart's bold hope, thy soaring flame of will ; — 


Since thou hast guessed- that on thy side have striven 
A host unknown, and hierarchs of heaven ; 
With whom shalt thou, in lands unseen afar, 
Renew thy youth and go again to war ; — 
Ay, when earth's folk are dust, earth's voices dumb. 
From world to world shalt strive and overcome. 280 

Say, could aught else content thee ? which were 
After so brief a battle an endless rest, 
Or the ancient conflict rather to renew, 
By the old deeds strengthened mightier deeds to do, 
Till all thou art, nay, all thou hast dreamed to be 
Proves thy mere root or embryon germ of thee ; — 
Wherefrom thy great life passionately springs. 
Rocked by strange blasts and stormy tempestings. 
Yet still from shock and storm more steadfast 

More one with other souls, yet more thine own? — 290 
Nay thro' those sufferings called and chosen then 
A very Demiurge of unborn men, — ■ 


A very Saviour, bending half divine 
To souls who feel such woes as once were thine ; — 
For these, perchance, some utmost fear to brave. 
Teach with thy truth, and with thy sorrows save. 

That hour may come when Earth no more can 
Tireless her year-long voyage thro' the deep ; 
Nay, when all planets, sucked and swept in one. 
Feed their rekindled solitary sun ; — 300 

Nay when all suns that shine, together hurled. 
Crash in one infinite and lifeless world : — 
Yet hold thou still, what worlds soe'er may roll, 
Naught bear they with them master of the soul ; 
In all the eternal whirl, the cosmic stir. 
All the eternal is akin to her; 
She shall endure, and quicken, and live at last, 
When all save souls has perished in the past. 

And wouldst thou still thy hope's immenseness 

shun ? 


Shield from the storm thy soul's course scarce 
begun ? 310 

These shattering blows she shall not curse but 
bless ; 

How were she straitened with one pang the less! 

Ah, try her, Powers ! let many a heat distil 

Her lucid essence from the insurgent ill ; 

Oh roughly, strongly work her bold increase ! 

Leave her not stagnant in a painless peace ! 

Nor let her, lulled in howso heavenly air, 

Fold her brave pinions and forget to dare ! 

So thrives not Love ; nor his great glory is shed 
On thornless summers and a rosy bed ; 320 

Nor oft mid all things fair and full content 
Soars he to rapture, blooms to ravishment; — 
But even as Beauty is no vain image wrought 
By man's mere senses or adventurous thought, 
But founts austere maintain her lovesome youth, 
And Beauty is the splendid bloom of Truth ; — 
So Love is Virtue's splendour; flame that starts 
From the struck anvil of impassioned hearts ; — 


Who though sometimes their Paradisal care 
Be but to till Life's field and leave it fair, — 330 
For some sweet years charged only to prolong 
Their lives' decline in new lives clear of wrong ; — 
Yet oftener these by sterner lessons taught 
Shall know the hours when Love is all or naught, 
When strong pains borne together and high deeds 

done, — 
Ay, sundering Death by severance welds in one. 

Thus be all life thy lesson ; raised the higher 
By whatsoe'er men scorn, or men desire ; — 
If lives untuned raise round thee a jarring voice. 
Grieve thou for these, but for thyself rejoice ; 340 
Since fed by each strife won, each strenuous hour, 
The strong soul grows ; her patience ends in power ; 
And from the lowliest vale as lightly flown 
As from a mount she soars and is alone. 

Or thou, if all the arts their wealth have blent 
To fashion some still home magnificent, 
Wherein at eve thine heart is snared and tame 
With lily odours and a glancing flame. 


While sighs half-heard of women, and dim things 

Make the dusk magical and charm the air ;— 350 
If in that languorous calm thine ardours fade 
And half-allured thy soul is half-betrayed,— 
Yet with one thought shalt thou again be free, 
Rapt in pure peace and inward ecstasy, 
Since art and gold are but the shine and show 
Of that true beauty which thy soul shall know ; — 
Ay, these things and things better shall she create 
Of her own substance, in her glorious state. 
When the unseen hope its visible end 'shall win 
And her best house be builded from within. 360 

For Art, the more she quickens, still the more 
Must stretch her fair hands to the further shore, 
Clearlier thro' fading images descry 
Her fadeless home, and truth in phantasy. 

Say, hast thou so known Art .'' hast felt her power 
Leap in an instant, vanish in an hour ? 


Marked in her eyes those gleams auroral play 
Mixt with this lumour of the worldly day ? 
Times have there been when all thy joys were 

To the far following of a tameless thought? 370 
When even the solid earth's foundations strong 
Seemed but the fabric and the food of Song? — 
In what world wert thou then ? what spirit heard 
That mounting cry which died upon a word ? 
Whence to thy soul that urgent answer came, 
Force none of thine, and high hopes crowned with 

flame ? 
Which from thy lips fell slow, and lost the while 
Their mystic radiance, momentary smile. 

Yea, and unseen things round the Painter stand ; 
More than his eye directs the master-hand ; 380 
Dimly and bright, with rapture mixt and pain, 
A heavenly image burns upon his brain ; — 
And many guessed it, but to one alone 
God's house was open and His household known, — 


Because the Lord had shown it him, and set 
Such vision in the heart of Tintoret 
That to his burning hurrying brush was given 
Sphere beyond sphere the infinite of heaven ; — 
From light to light his leaping spirit flew, 
The heaven of heavens was round him as he 
drew ; — 39° 

Till clear-obscure in eddying circles lay 
The golden folk, the inhabitants of day : — 
Crowd all his walls, thro' all his canvas throng, 
Those eyes enraptured in a silent song, 
Hands of appeal, and starry brows that tell 
A yearning joy, a wish inaudible. 

So mounts the soul ; so for her, mounting higher, 
Is fresh apocalypse a fresh desire ; 
Vision is mystery, and Truth must still 
By riddles teach, and as she fails fulfil. 400 

And Music ; — hast thou felt that howsoe'er 
Her mastering preludes march upon the air, — 


With whatso gladness her full stream she flings 
Tumultuous thro' the swirl of terrene things, — 
Though she awhile, when the airy notes have flown. 
Encompass all men's passion in her own. 
Till 'ye who know what thing Love is' can see 
His wings in the air vibrate enchantingly, — 
Yet oftener, strangelier, are her accents set 
Toward hopes unfathomed thro' an unknown 
regret ;— 410 

Ah listen ! tremble ! for no earthly fate 
Knocks in that occult summons at the gate ; — 
Hark ! for that wild appeal, that fierce acclaim 
Cry to no earthly love with earthly flame ; — 
The august concent its joyaunce whirls away 
From thy soul's compass thro' the ideal day ; — 
The lovely uplifted voice of girl or boy 
Stirs the full heart with something strange to joy. 

Then hadst thou thought that still the Thracian 
Thro' all the chords his infinite lament, 420 


Because himself, the minstrel sire of song, 
Had loved so passionately, mourned so long, 
And taught his seven sweet strings a sighing tone. 
And made their wail the answer of his own ? 

Or must thou deem 'twas but some Past of thine 
Confused the stream of Music's cry divine, 
Because her entering Orphic touch revealed 
Shrines ruined now, bride-chambers shut and 

And thrilling through thee a gleam unwonted 

On loves long lost, and days immortal dead ? 430 

Not so, but Music is a creature bound, 
A voice not ours, the imprisoned soul of sound, — 
Who fain would bend down hither and find her 

In the strong passion of a hero's heart, 
Or one great hour constrains herself to sing 
Pastoral peace and waters wandering; — 
Then hark how on a chord she is rapt and flown 
To that true world thou seest not nor hast known, 
M. 15 


Nor speech of thine can her strange thought unfold. 
The bars' wild beat, and ripple of running gold, 440 
Since needs must she the unending story tell 
Of such sweet mates as with her for ever dwell, 
Of very Truth, and Beauty sole and fair, 
And Wisdom, made the sun of all that air. 
Where now thou art not, but shalt be soon, and 

Scale her high home, and find her glorious. 

And Love .'' thine heart imagined, it may be, 
Himself the Immortal here had lodged with thee } 
Thou hadst clomb the heaven and caught him in 

the air, 
And clasped him close and felt that he was 

fair i" — 450 

He hath but shown thee, when thou call'dst him 

His eyes' first glance, and shimmer of flying feet, — 
He hath but spoken, on his ascending way. 
One least word of the words he hath yet to say, — 


Who in the true world his true home has made 
With fair things first-begotten and undecayed, — 
Whereof thou too art, whither thou too shalt 

Live with Love's self, and what Love knows shalt 

Ah sweet division, excellent debate 
Between this flesh and that celestial state, 460 
When Love, long-prayed, hath wrought thee now 

and here 
Peace in some heart so innocently dear 
That thought of more than what before thee 

Seems a mere scorn of present Paradise ; 
While yet Love rests not so, nor bates his breath 
To name the stingless names of Eld and Death ; 
Knowing, through change without thee and within 
His force must grow and his great years begin ; — 
Knowing himself the mightiest, Death the call 
To his high realm and house primordial. 47° 


Ah, may the heart grow ever, yet retain 
All she hath once acquired of glorious gain ! 
May all in freshness in her deeps endure 
Which once hath entered in of high and pure. 
Nor the sweet Present's dearness wear away 
The grace and power of the old God-given day ! 
Nay, as some world-wide race count most divine 
Of all their temples one first lowly shrine, 
Whereat the vow was pledged, the onset sworn, 
Which swept their standards deep into the 
Morn, — 480 

So, howsoe'er thy soul's fate bear her far 
Thro' counterchanging heaven and avatar, 
Still shall her gaze that earliest scene survey 
Where eyes heroic taught the heavenly way, 
Where hearts grew firm to hold the august desire 
Though sea with sky, though earth were mixt 

with fire, — 
Where o'er themselves they seized the high con- 
Each at the calling of the comrade soul. 


Ay, in God's presence set them, let them see 
The lifting veil of the inmost mystery, 490 

Even then shall they remember, even so 
Shall the old thoughts rise, and the old love's 
fountain flow. 

Ah Fate ! what home soe'er be mine at last. 
Save me some look, some image of the Past ! 
O'er deep-blue meres be dark cloud-shadows driven ; 
Veil and unveil a storm-swept sun in heaven ; — 
Cold gusts of raining summer bring me still 
Dreamwise the wet scent of the ferny hill ! 

Live then and love ; thro' life, thro' love is won 
All thy fair Future shall have dared and done : 500 
Whate'er the seons unimagined keep 
Stored for thy trial in the viewless deep; — 
Though thy sad path should lead thee unafraid 
Lonely thro' age-long avenues of shade; — 
Though in strange worlds, on many a ghostly morn, 
Thy soul dishomed shall shudder and be forlorn ; — 


Yet with thee still the World-soul's onset goes; 
Wind of the Spirit on all those waters blows ; 
Still in all lives a Presence inlier known 
Is Light and Truth and all men's and thine own ; 510 
Still o'er thy hid soul brooding as a dove 
With Love alone redeems the wounds of Love ; 
Still mid the wildering war, the eternal strife, 
Bears for Life's ills the healing gift of Life. 

Live thou and love ! so best and only so 
Can thy one soul into the One Soul flow, — 
Can thy small life to Life's great centre flee, 
And thou be nothing, and the Lord in thee. 

And therefore whoso reaches, whoso knows 
This ardent peace, this passionate repose, — 520 
In whomsoe'er from the heart forth shall swell 
The indwelling tide, the inborn Emmanuel, — 
Their peace no kings, no warring worlds destroy, 
No strangers intermeddle and mar their joy ; 
These lives can neither Alp on Alp upborne 
Hurl from the Glooming or the Thundering Horn, 


Nor Nile, uprisen with all his waters, stay 

Their march aerial and irradiant way ; — 

Who are in God's hand, and round about them 

The light invisible of a land unknown ; 530 

Who are in God's hand ; in quietness can wait 
Age, pain, and death, and all that men call Fate : — 
What matter if thou hold thy loved ones prest 
Still with close arms upon thy yearning breast. 
Or with purged eyes behold them hand in hand 
Come in a vision from that lovely land, — 
Or only with great heart and spirit sure 
Deserve them and await them and endure ; 
Knowing well, no shocks that fall, no years that 

Can sunder God from these, or God from thee ; 540 
Nowise so far thy love from theirs can roam 
As past the mansions of His endless home. 

Hereat, my soul, go softly; not for long 
Runs thy still hour from prime till evensong; 


Come shine or storm, rejoice thee or endure. 
Set is thy course and all thy haven is sure ; 
Nor guide be thine thro' halcyon seas or wild 
Save the child's heart and trust as of the child.